The Christmas season shopping is in full swing and Playtime Seychelles Safety Corner like to put out some reminders to parents and family members to keep toy safety in mind while picking out gifts for young children.
It’s always important to look at age recommendations and any warnings on the packaging. One of the most important reminders when looking for toys is to look for a potential choking hazard
There are a lot of things to consider, when you buy a Christmus Gift for a child.
Things to consider
Choose sturdy and well made toys, that can stand up against being bitten, tugged, sucked, jumped on and thrown around without falling apart.
Pick age-appropriate toys. Choose toys suitable for your child’s age, abilities and skill level.
Be sure to follow the age recommendation – particularly the 0 to 3 symbol and the words ‘not suitable for children under 36 months’. Do not buy toys with small detachable parts for children under 3 years of age. Small children tend to put toys in their mouths; they may choke on the small parts.
Look for Toys marked with CE –Label. The CE mark is a commitment from the toy maker, that the toy complies with all EU safety rules, which are amongst the strictest in the world.
Eyes and buttons can be a choking hazard.
Small parts such as eyes, buttons and other small parts should be securely fixed to dolls and toy animals, so they can’t be removed, by pulling or chewing. For children up to three years, ensure, that the doll’s limb or head is not removable, because if the parts are too small they can also become a choking hazard.
Rattles or teething rings
Toys that children have in or near their mouth like rattles or teething rings, shall have round forms, which must be large enough, that they do not fit completely into a child’s mouth and not have long narrow shafts. The shafts can get too far in the mouth and harm a child’s throat or block the windpipe. The last warning is especially for children that cannot sit up by themselves.
Avoid soft toys, that contain filling that is dangerous for your child like plastic beads. If the toy breaks, children under three years old can suffer serious injuries or illness. They can choke on small parts or filling, that they have put in their mouths or inhaled. They can also swallow small parts or fillings. If you feel uncertain ask the shop sales assistant, about what kind of filling, that is used. Look also for for a label that the toy is washable.
Ribbons attached to toys, shall not be longer than 22cm, otherwise there is a risk that the child can get the ribbon around her/his neck and get strangled.
Toys With an elastic cord
Toys with an elastic cord, to be attached across a cradle, cot or pram the maximum stretched length of the elastic, should be no more than 75 cm and the length of the elastic, when relaxed should be no longer than 56 cm. The elastic should be enclosed in a tube. It should be removed from the cradle, cot, playpen, pram, stroller etc. when the child is able to sit up unaided, because there is a possibility, that the child could fall forward onto the toy, in a way that would cause a restriction to breathing.
Make sure a toy isn’t too loud for your child. The noise of some rattles, squeak toys and musical toys can be as loud as a car horn, even louder if a child holds it directly to the ears and can contribute to hearing damage. The International Standards Organization (ISO) technical committee recommends, that close-to-the-ear toys, should not exceed 65 dB when measured in the free field and all other toys should not exceed 85 dB.
Button batteries can be swallowed or placed in the nose or ears and can cause serious injury or death. Most pass through the body and are eliminated, but sometimes they get hung up in the esophagus. An electrical current can form in the body and hydroxide, an alkaline chemical, can cause tissue burns that can be fatal.
Battery-operated toys should have battery cases, that secure with screws so that kids cannot pry them open.
- When checking a toy for a baby or toddler, make sure it’s unbreakable and strong enough to withstand chewing so batteries can’t fall out.
- Check toys regularly to make sure that they aren’t broken or unusable.
- Throw away broken toys or repair them right away.
Before wrapping a gift
Remove packaging, prize tags and other things and discard packaging immediately, before giving the toy to a small child. Make sure your child does not play with plastic packaging, as there could be a risk of suffocation.
Read and follow the instructions for proper toy assembly and use. Keep the instructions and information, that are packaged with the toy in a safe place.
Ribbons and wrapping paper
Bright colors make these attractive to children but these items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child. After gifts are opened, remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows ,put them into a garbage sack right away. Even stray pieces of gift wrap or plastic ties from packaging can pose a choking hazard
Do not let children play with gift wrappings.
You can read Playtime Seychelles Publication “Safe to play with!”
or download it as PDF for free