Across the United States, There are 72,000 children under the age of five who go to the emergency room each year for toy-related accidents. For this reason, it is important to learn how to tell if a toy is too small for a toddler in order to ensure safety.
Although there are standards that manufacturers follow for toy safety, sometimes accidents can happen when the inappropriate toy is given to a toddler. We should also be watchful if your toddler plays with older kids because toys such as Legos and puzzles may be perfectly safe for a six-year-old but can pose a danger to a smaller child.
Moreover, toddlers love to explore, play, and put things in their mouths which we should allow them to do because these are a part of their development. These are also better than letting them use tablets because playing with toys helps develop their fine and gross motor skills which are important later on in life. So, it is important to choose toys that will spark their curiosity and nurture their overall development.
How to Tell If a Toy is Too Small for a Toddler: Tips on Choosing Safe Toys
Choose toys that are large enough because toddlers love to put things in their mouth; if the toy is too small, it can be a choking hazard to them. The size of the toy should be at least three centimeters in diameter and two and a quarter inches in length so that it’s big enough not to be swallowed but small enough to be held by their tiny hands.
So, how to tell if a toy is too small for a toddler? By using a choke or toilet paper tube. If the toy is able to fit in any of those tubes, then it means they are too small for your toddler.
No sharp edges and small parts
A toddler’s toy should not have sharp edges because a child’s skin is sensitive and thin and is susceptible to getting wounded. In addition, the toy should not have small removable parts because, as mentioned previously, these are choking hazards to toddlers. If the toy has small parts, they should be attached securely so that the kid won’t be able to remove them.
Strong and unbreakable
Choose toys that are strong so that they can stand the chewing of a toddler. They should also be unbreakable because toys that can break into small and sharp pieces pose a danger to a toddler.
Made of toxic-free materials
A toy that is made of plastic should be BPA-free, and if it is painted, the paint used should be lead-free. This is because, as mentioned earlier, a toddler loves to explore things by putting them in their mouth and some of these materials may be ingested. We have to ensure that whatever your toddler plays with is not harmful to her or him.
No cords or strings
The presence of cords or strings in a toy can be dangerous due to the fact that these things can wrap around a child’s neck. If the toy should really have a string, it should not be longer than seven inches or 18 centimeters.
You may cut the string shorter if it’s really unnecessary or remove it completely but if you really want to be on the safer side, just let your little one play with it when he or she is old enough to handle such a toy.
Batteries should be enclosed
The batteries of toys should have a cover and must be secured with screws so that the child won’t be able to remove it. Batteries are a choking hazard, and its fluid can cause chemical burns and internal bleeding. Further, make sure that you are supervising if in case the toys you are letting your toddler play with are battery operated.
Avoid toys with loud noises
A toddler’s ears are just developing so they are very sensitive to loud noises. This is the reason why it is important that the toy you are giving does not have a loud sound that can damage the child’s hearing.
Check hand me down toys very well
It is nice to recycle things, but when it comes to toys, you have to be extremely cautious. You have to make sure that the toy is still sturdy and the parts are not loose.
Also, check if they have been safety-tested; if it’s not printed on the toy, you might need a bit of research on the internet. If you are buying toys from a garage sale, make sure they are not made before 1978 because they might contain lead.
Riding toys should have a harness
You should only let your child play with a riding toy when he or she is only able to sit up without any support. The toy should also have a safety harness or belt to prevent the child from falling. It should be very stable as well to ensure that the toy won’t tip over while your toddler is on it.
Do an inspection regularly
Your toddler’s toys should be checked once in a while to ensure that your toddler’s toys are always safe to play with. Check for loose parts and fix them right away; if the damage is beyond repair, you need to throw it immediately so your child won’t play with it anymore.
Your toddler’s toys should also be kept clean at all times. Most toys can be easily washed with soap and water, and some are dishwasher safe so keeping them clean won’t be a difficult task.
Playing with toys should be a fun time for your toddler, and this should also encourage her or his physical and mental development. This is the reason why toy safety is important to ensure that they only have happy memories during their play time.
Aside from making sure that the toys your toddler are playing with are safe, it is equally important that your child is not alone when playing. Somebody should always be there to supervise and teach even though we should let them explore on their own. This also gives you the time to interact with your child which is also needed in their development.