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As a parent, you should know how to choose safe kids toys to avoid injuries and poisoning. Small parts, sharp edges, cords, toxic paints are just a few potential hidden hazards a child can come across. Annually, a lot of kids suffer toy-related injuries. To keep your child safe, follow the guidelines below when shopping for kids toys.
How to Choose Safe Kids Toys
Choose the right toys for the right age
Manufacturers should follow ISO’s (International Organization for Standardization) International Standard for Toy Safety and label their toys for specific age groups. Keep in mind that age levels for kid’s toys are determined by safety factors rather than intelligence or maturity.
Read the label
Warning labels provide detailed information on how to use a toy the right way, in particular, what to avoid. Toys made of fabric must be labeled as flame resistant. Warning labels on art materials should say “non-toxic”. Labels on painted toys must state “lead-free paint”. Be sure to check all important data.
In order to prevent choking, choose toys and parts bigger than your child’s mouth, at least until he or she turns 3 years.
Avoid too loud toys
Some toys are so loud that can damage your child hearing.
Choose only well-made toys
Make sure that all ribbons, buttons, eyes, etc. are tightened down properly. If not, they could be easily snapped off or chewed. Next, check that there are no sharp edges.
Do not buy toys that contain toxic materials like cadmium, lead, and chromium
Most frequently they can be found in dolls, cuddly toys, and plastic. These hazardous chemicals can cause poisoning.
Think twice before buying toys with a cord 12 inches or longer
A cord can cause strangulation if wrapped around neck. Primarily, this refers to stringing and threading educational toys designed to promote fine motor skills and dexterity.
Avoid toys with small magnets
Children can swallow magnets. Such a situation is extremely dangerous since magnets can be attracted to each other through intestinal walls causing infection, holes, and blockages.
Choose toys according to your child physical abilities
Some parents buy a bike one size bigger in order not to buy it next year. Or they choose backyard playsets with ladders and ropes for kids that are too little to climb them up. Caution: such approach can lead to serious injuries. A child should have the physical skills to control the bike and to use the ladders safely.
Keep in mind that the most important thing each parent can and should do is to supervise the play, especially, when it comes to babies and toddlers!
Baby Shopping Guide: Must-Haves and Don’t-Needs
Going shopping for new baby products? Check on the list of the must-haves and don’t-needs to shop smart. There are so many ”must have“ baby items that it can be difficult to understand what’s actually worth the splurge, and what’s just for fun!
Baby Furniture Items
- A convenient co-sleeper;
- A changing table;
- A crib mattress.
It is nice to have a rocking chair and a baby monitor, but you can easily do without these things.
Baby Proofing Things
- Cabinet latches;
- Drawer latches;
- Outlet covers;
- Furniture anchors.
Baby Feeding Items
- Dry heat sterilizer.
You may not need a dry formula dispenser and a bottle warmer. These products are optional.
Items for Baby Bathing
- Baby bath wash;
- Baby shampoo;
- Baby brush set;
- Nail scissors;
- Bath thermometer.
There is no in need baby toys, especially, for infants. Do not waste your money from the very beginning. You’ll have a lot of chances later!
Things for Going Out with a Baby
- Clothing according to the season;
- Car seat;
- Baby carrier.
Other Stuff for Babies
There are not must-haves but it is really nice to have soft books and blocks, a bright playmat, different stroller toys, an abundance of rattles, and many educational toys that you may need a bit later.
A lot of future parents want to prepare as many baby items as possible. Actually, they shouldn’t. There is no need to buy an outdoor baby swing or wall bars waiting for a child. Start with the absolute needs. You can’t even imagine how many things you’ll have to buy for your child in the future.
How to Choose a Baby Car Seat
Safety is always a top priority when shopping for a suitable car seat. Where to start? Let’s start with the fact that all children under 12 years old or less than 135 cm in height must be driven in the appropriately sized car seat in accordance with the international laws and regulations. Car seat groups are as follows:
- Group 0 - 0 – 10 kg (from birth to 6-9 months);
- Group 0+ - 0 – 13 kg (from birth to 12-15 months);
- Group 1 – 9 – 18 kg (from 9 months to 4 years);
- Group 2 – 15 – 25kg (from 4 to 6 years);
- Group 3 – 22 – 36 kg (from 6 to 11 years).
Rear-facing Car Seats
Group 0 and Group 0+ are all rear-facing since all babies should be kept this way until 2 years old to withstand the pressure of a head-on collision. They protect a baby by these 4 means:
- Ensure that a baby head is fixed and doesn’t move around.
- Prevent a baby head from banging on car doors or windows.
- Ensure a protective shell.
- Distribute the pressure from the child’s restraint.
Forward-facing Car Seats
A child is facing direction of travel. Forward-facing car seats are cheaper than rear-ones but less safe. The safest option here is Group 1 with an integral harness. Side impact wing protects your child’s neck and head from injuries. Forward-facing car seats are easily installed. There is an abundance of available models.
Combination Car Seats
Combination car seats, also known as multi-group seats, can be adjusted as your child grow and are designed for children from birth until 12 years old. Some of them can be converted into boosters and a booster cushion makes the use of a standard seat belt possible.
If you want to make an informed purchase decision, read online reviews and complaints, posted by real buyers. Such posts contain truthful information about advantages and disadvantages of a particular item that will definitely help to make the right choice.