6 Safety check points for infant toys you ignore.

It is not rocket science to know if a toy is safe or not but it takes some basic knowledge to figure out the reality. We have seen popular toys being recalled or even banned due to safety issues which only leaves even an aware parent perplexed as to what to trust and whom to believe.

The way out is, over and above what the toys and their manufacturers claim, use your own judgment based on the following. Infants (age group 0-3yrs) have a tendency to put everything they love in their mouth and suck on it. Hence, the most important aspects one should be sure about infant toys are:

  1. There should absolutely be no potentially detachable parts small enough for the infant to swallow. Small parts pose a huge choking hazard for the infants that should be avoided at all costs.
  2. The paint (if any) should not be scraping off or the color should not be spreading (leaching) on to the packaging. If such toys do come in contact of your child do check for any residue paint in the toddler’s mouth, hands or body and clean it immediately, consult the doctor and contact the manufacturer for details on the paint/color used.
  3. One should avoid fur toys that can shed fur which may enter the respiratory system or the food pipe of the infant.
  4. It is advised to always keep the packaging of the toy safely away from the child but in a place from where you can retrieve it easily. You may require certain details and information mentioned on the packaging till your child has the toy to play with.
  5. Sometimes a safe toy can pose a hazard when broken during play and thereby exposing small parts. It is recommended to replace broken and old toys.
  6. Never give a toy to an infant not recommended by the manufacturer for your child’s age group.

The above aspects though not exhaustive represent the safety of a toy that as a parent you can see yourself for the safety of your precious little one.

Toy safety and non toxicity is a vast science and complete safety can only be measured in certified testing laboratories. Look for toy safety standards mentioned by the manufacturer on the packaging.

The most common safety standards for toys are given below:

  1. EN71 Part 1,2 & 3- European Toy safety standard. The different parts pertain to the physical, chemical and flammability aspects of the toy. A toy can only be certified safe if it passes all the three parts.
  2. IS 9873 Part 1,2 & 3- Indian toy safety standard (identical standard to the EN71)
  3. ASTM – American safety standards for toys. Usually a number will follow the ASTM depending on the type of toy.
  4. BPA free- this would be mentioned on some infant toys made of hard plastic. Some countries have made this additional safety standard mandatory.
  5. Phthalate free- this may be mentioned on some infant toys made of soft plastic. Some countries have made this additional safety standard mandatory.
  6. Azo free- this may be mentioned on some toys made of cloth/fabric/fur. Some countries have made this additional safety standard mandatory.

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