Choosing safe toys is simply a matter of being informed. It is very important for every parent to be aware of the dangerous and prohibited chemicals found in toys which could pose a hazard to children. Here are a few pointers which should help you to choose safe toys for your children.
- Avoid Toys Containing BPA: BPA is a chemical commonly found in toys, baby and children's products. Choose BPA free toys and plastic goods. One way of checking this is to look for the number on the bottom, within the recycling arrows. Avoid products with the numbers 3,6 and 7. Also avoid clear plastic bottles and products unless certified BPA free. The CPSIA law has made it illegal to sell toys containing BPA.
- Avoid Toys Containing Phthalates: Phthalates are commonly found in in baby products like shampoos, lotions etc, medicines, nail polish, perfumes, toys and other consumer goods. Phthalates are found in many children's toys. They are used to make toys like rubber ducks, dolls, balls more flexible. The CPSIA law has made it illegal to sell toys containing phthalates.
- Avoid Toys Containing Lead: Lead is a poisonous chemical. Toys and jewelry containing lead and lead based paint are dangerous primarily because they expose children to the heavy metal lead. Children tend to mouth toys and small objects, and some amount of lead may end up in the body if they are exposed to objects containing excessive levels of lead. The CPSIA law has made it illegal to sell toys containing lead above the minimum specified safety level.
- Avoid Magnets as Much as Possible: Check toys for magnets. If the magnets are completely covered and encased within heavy duty material which cannot be chewed or splintered, it's probably alright. If you really want to play it safe, then take away any magnetic toys from your kids.
- Avoid Toys with Small/Detachable Parts: Most unsafe toys have small parts which can be detached and ingested. Check all toys for loose or small parts which you feel may be dangerous to your kids. If you want to be sure you're choosing a safe toy, either remove the part from the toy, or take the entire toy away.
- Avoid Loud Toys: Loud toys are unsafe for the child's hearing. Exposure to constantly high levels of noise can reduce your child's capacity to hear. One solution is to stick some tape or a bandage over the speaker in order to lessen the noise.
- Check for Recalled Toys Often: Toys are being recalled ever so often. Reasons for the recall of toys vary. Some toys are recalled due to unsafe chemicals and others due to detachable parts or defects in their construction which pose a danger to kids. You can check for recalls on the CPSC. website.
- Choose Age Appropriate Toys: Safe toys are synonymous with age appropriate toys. It's not safe for your kids to play with toys which are meant for older children. This is especially true where infants and toddlers are concerned. You must check if toys are age appropriate for your kids.