Choosing Safe Toys for Your Child

Planning on getting some toys for your little one? Be sure you’re making the right choices.

WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI

 

When you’re heading out for your next shopping trip, be sure the toys you plan on purchasing meet these safety tips.

 

No Small Parts

As it is with children’s apparel, parents should also be aware of toys made up of or containing small parts that can be a choking or suffocation hazard. According to the European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA), “smooth round objects present the highest risk of choking by lodging in the stomach, lung or ear”. The ECSA also warns of toys with small magnets that can seriously harm children if swallowed. These magnets become especially dangerous if more than one is swallowed as they can be “pulled toward each other inside the child’s body, causing twisted/knotted intestines, intestinal perforation or blockage”, states the ECSA.

 

Is the Battery Compartment Easily Accessible?

Battery-operated toys should be carefully checked through before letting your child play with them. SPRING Singapore recommends ensuring that your child cannot open the battery compartment by himself. This is especially so for coin-sized batteries as they “can cause throat burns when swallowed”, according to SPRING.

 

Is it Age-appropriate?

Children’s toys usually come with labels that indicate the minimum age or age range the toys are suitable for.

 

 

Some toys are also accompanied with an age warning label, which states that the toy is

unsuitable for children below 36 months. Toys with this age-warning label usually contain

small parts that can come apart or be broken off, thus posing a choking hazard for children.

 

 

Be sure to keep a lookout for these labels so you know you are buying toys appropriate for your child’s age.

 

Is it Strangulation-free?

Children’s clothes are not the only items that can pose a strangulation hazard to your child. Certain toys can also pose the same risk, such as crib toys with long strings, cords or ribbons. To prevent your child from getting injured, SPRING Singapore advises parents to avoid crib toys with these strangulation hazards. If you do purchase these crib toys, be sure to remove them once your child is able to reach them.

 

Is it Toxic?

In 2010, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) conducted a test of 50 toys (randomly purchased from different areas in Singapore) to find out if they contained any toxic chemicals. The results of the test found that 23 of the toys had failed chemical tests, and out of these 23 toys, “16 exceeded the limit of phthalates, 3 exceeded the limit for lead, while 4 exceeded the limit for both phthalates and lead”.

 

These results highlight the importance for parents to check the potential toxicity of toys when buying them for their children. While it is impossible to check every single toy, some you should be more wary of are plastic toys that are malleable, as they may contain higher levels of phthalates – chemicals used to make plastic more flexible – as well as toys with bright paints, which may indicate harmful levels of lead.

 

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