With the holiday shopping season upon us, now is the time to start checking your children’s wish list, and check it twice! The hustle and bustle that comes with holiday shopping often adds additional stress on moms, , which might lead you to overlook some important things to keep in mind when picking out the right toys for your kid.
Unfortunately, some toys that you may buy your kid can have potential health and safety hazards. We are often thinking of common dangers, such as choking, but there are other things to look for when buying toys for your children. This year, use some of these, tips and tricks to help you steer clear of any toy that could be a hazard to your child.
Stay Away From Cheap Products
It may be tempting to buy budget-friendly toys in an effort to maximize the amount of presents that are under the tree for your kid, but like most products, it is really important to remember quality or quantity. Many toys that are noticeably less expensive than well-known brands tend to be made with cheap materials, hence the cheaper price.
The cheaper plastics used across these toys can be safety hazards to your kids because of how easily they can break off. When these plastics break, they often form small fragments that allow your kid to potentially choke or cut themselves on the sharp edges. This is especially important to consider if you have toddlers or infants. You should not allow them to play with toys that can have smaller pieces come off. In fact, it is a good idea to stay away from plastic toys altogether if you’re able to.
Look for Non-Toxic Materials
It can be hard to find toys that don’t contain plastics given the current market for toys. The aisles in your favorite stores may seem to be filled with plastic action figures, dolls, and more, but the alternative options are out there! It’s important to consider the alternative to plastic toys because of the potential harmful chemicals that are in plastics. Some of the most common toxins found in plastic toys include Formaldehyde, BPA, Lead, and other heavy metals. You may be worried because your child already has plastic toys, but there is no need to be concerned. There are important tips for
safely using plastic toys that can help you and your child limit exposure to the toxic chemicals. It may be more difficult to fully avoid plastic toys as your child is older, but as a toddler there are many plenty of options to choose from.
There are many different types of toys made from non-toxic materials that aren’t manufactured with the many possible chemicals that come with plastic toys. When shopping for non-toxic materials some of the best materials to look for include:
- Natural Wood
- Clothes and Cotton
When you’re looking for toys made out of these materials, it is also important to see if they are painted or coated. Finding paints that are water-based is the safest way to prevent your child from possible lead exposure.
Find Toys With Minimal Needed Supervision
You also want to be sure that the toys you are buying your child are age appropriate. If you have a toddler, a few types of toys to be careful with include art supplies, makeup, building bricks such as LEGOS, or any other items that contain small pieces. Since younger kids touch their mouth often, toys with small pieces can promote a choking hazard to your kid. In fact, five of the ten most dangerous toys of 2022 are on the list due to choking hazards alone. If your child wants legos or other toys with small pieces, but you’re worried if it is age appropriate, there are are likely alternatives that have bigger pieces that your child will not be able to swallow.
When it comes to art supplies such as paint, crayons, and markers, you want to make sure you are reading labels and buying non-toxic brands. Studies have shown that many brands of crayons contain asbestos, which can cause health problems like cancer later in life. Outside of asbestos, many paints and markers have both been linked to containing the chemical xylene which can cause dizziness, headaches, and confusion. Not supervising your kids while their at play not only holds the risk of choking hazards, but to be exposed to ingesting toxic materials as well.
Be Mindful of Boxes and Packaging Materials
Another aspect that’s often overlooked is what you wrap your gifts in, the box itself, and the contents included in the packaging besides the toy itself. Many children’s toy packages contain packing materials that could be choking hazards to your children. Small foams and plastics used for packaging should be thrown out very soon after your child opens their gifts to eliminate any chances of them choking on the packaging. You should also be considerate about the box that your child’s toys come in. Many kids love using the boxes to play in and create forts, so make sure to either have proper ventilation, or discard the boxes once your child opens their presents.
Also, be sure to help your kids open the more difficult toys and presents. Products that use clamshell packaging can result in wrap rage, which means whoever is opening the product gets frustrated by the difficulty and tries to rip it open. Ripping open these hard plastic clamshells can expose sharp edges which can lead to injury, especially amongst children. In fact, an estimated 6,000 people visit the emergency room every year due to wrap rage. If something is in a difficult package, make sure to open it for your kids, and use scissors over just your bare hands to keep the process safer.
Let The Safe Shopping Begin!
With these tips in mind, you should be all set to make sure your children have a safe and happy holiday season! Always remember that as a parent you can never be too careful when it comes to your child’s safety. With some of these tips potentially being tedious and require extra effort, they will go a long way to making sure your child has the safest and highest quality toys under the wrapping paper!