Before becoming a mum of two, I was a person who was always spending the days in anxiety without any apparent reason. I was known among my family and friends as the overthinker, playing out various scenarios in my mind of how situations could unravel – in other words, stressing out over problems that didn’t even exist.
As soon as my husband and I welcomed Ethan and Noah in our lives, it dawned on me the previous anxiety was nothing compared to the fears of a parent. Motherhood takes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you how to become a responsible person by taking care of the life of delicate creatures that babies are.
In addition to the worries related to breastfeeding, how to choose the right baby bottles, and how to teach little ones to sleep through the night, toys presented a great deal of anxiety for me. I was aware of their importance in the development of hand-eye coordination, cause and effect, motor skills, as well as visual stimulation for vision development.
Still, the thought of them posing some threat to the health and well-being of my babies was making me feel restless every time I was out shopping, choosing from a range of cute newborn baby toys. So, I took it as my mission to find out as much about toys and safety as I could. Now I’m willing to share my knowledge with you so you too could get the peace of mind you need as a parent.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
You know how during your pregnancy you swear to yourself you won’t overspend on toys, in favour of other baby supplies? Well, as soon as you welcome your little bub, you’re going to break that promise easily as you come across all the colourful and fun toys you’d immediately want to splurge on.
The harsh truth is much like cats sometimes children are going to have more fun with the box the toys come in than the toys themselves. Instead of piling up whole mountains of teddies, music-playing devices, rattles, hand puppets, and whatnots that are on the cheap side, spend more of your money and effort in buying the few that would actually make a difference. Less is more with toys and quality ensures they’re made with your little one’s safety in mind – no small loose parts and no choking hazards you have to fret about.
Pay Attention to the Labels
Labels are added for a reason. Don’t buy or give the new toy to your baby before reading the label first to be sure it’s age-appropriate and non-toxic. In addition, labels indicate how to properly use, wash and store the newborn baby toys so be sure to look into that while checking the materials they’re made of too.
When buying online, look for as much information as possible on the website of the chosen store, check for customer reviews, and ask them for extra information should you require. Moreover, quality toys from trusted manufacturers and suppliers also give you the peace of mind as they’re compliant with the Australian toy safety standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.
Inspect the Toys
Now, this advice is important both when you’re choosing the toys as well as every time you let your baby play with them. As infants tend to explore the world around them by putting everything into their mouth despite all your efforts in preventing it from happening, the ideal baby toy is one that’s soft and doesn’t have any rough or sharp edges. Also, look for those that aren’t easily damaged or broken, and don’t have any parts that would easily detach or loosen to pose choking risks.
One good example of a great toy is a baby comforter that doesn’t have any buttons or stitches that come off. With old toys, anything that’s damaged (including paint that’s chipped or peeling) should be repaired if possible, and if not, should be thrown away. Extra hazards come from infant toys that contain magnets and batteries, so the first thing you should look for is whether or not either of them is added to the label.
These two are dangerous considering they can cause serious burns in the throat, or intestinal perforations and eventually lead to death. When you buy the newborn baby toys from trustworthy shops and suppliers, you won’t have to worry because the magnets won’t come off from the toys during play as they’re safely secured inside. The same can be said about the batteries as they’re safely covered in battery compartments that are secured with screws.
Be Aware of Recalls
Even though hazardous toys shouldn’t be anywhere near the shelves of stores, sometimes they still are. To become acquainted with brands and toys that are considered to be dangerous for babies, it’s advisable to do your homework and find out as much as you can about kids and baby product recalls.
This is especially handy when you’re buying from online retailers and suppliers and you don’t have the possibility to look into a toy’s label before the purchase. Lastly, if you aren’t satisfied with the safety of the toy you end up buying, you could contact the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission).