Choosing Long Lasting Baby Toys That Will Help Your Kid Develop!
For couples who have been wishing to build a family, having a baby is certainly one of the most delightful moments in their life. It is both a gift and a challenge. Gift because babies are precious ones we usually refer to as “bundle of joy”.
It’s true because who wouldn’t be in a good mood whenever they see a baby sleeping peacefully, chuckling and giggling innocently, and smiles cheerfully to the playful expressions and gestures you make? We all say, “Ooh, what a little cutie!”
On the other hand, raising a child comes with different kinds of challenge in every stage of growth and development. Parents carry the responsibility of providing love, care, and protection. They need to raise them in a way that they can reach their full potential. This is why parents educate their kids as early as possible. Teaching can even start during pregnancy. Remember, the baby’s brain is the most powerful learning machine.
Fun and Play: Important for a Child’s Development
It is challenging to educate kids. However, you can do this in a fun and enjoyable setting by combining the learning process with play. When children do both, they realize that discovering new knowledge and skills doesn’t have to be intimidating. Rather, it is an exciting process they would love to do over and over again.
Knowing this fact help parents decide which toys and activities would benefit their kids. The task of choosing toys and activities isn’t as simple as buying the latest trends, what other parents buy, or simply grab anything from the toy store. Parents should carefully consider some important factors such as the age of their child, his interests, and the learning areas where he must improve.
The best toys aren’t just created to entertain your kids and avoid tantrums. Some toys are designed to improve a child’s creativity, language skills, math skills, memory, or ability to focus. There are also some that help develop their physical capabilities such as movement, coordination, and balance. Yes, toys serve a certain purpose. So take play seriously because children need it in a similar way that they need formal education in the future.
Guide on Toy Safety
As parents, the least thing you’d expect to happen is to find your kid getting injured. You wouldn’t even want to imagine the possibility. This is why you do your utmost to protect them from anything that could harm them. Playing is supposedly a wonderful source of joy and learning for kids. Unfortunately, some parents fail to recognize the hazards of several toys they give their children. And so, the unexpected happens.
Research reveals that in the United States alone, a child is being treated in an emergency room once every three minutes due to a toy-related injury. Choking is usually the leading cause of these emergencies. Other toy-related injuries include bad falls, drowning, collisions wounds, lacerations, bruises, and poisoning.
To avoid facing the same trouble, parents need to recognize potential hazards early on. Carefully examine toy parts, check the label, and heed authority-given advice on choosing quality toys suitable for your child’s age.
In choosing baby toys, here are some of the points you should pay attention to:
Baby Toys Should be Durable
Babies can be harsh on toys. They hit them onto something, scratch them, drop them over and over, ride on them, throw them with all their might, drool on them, or bite them. Yes, babies torture toys. So, basically, you wouldn’t choose the kinds that are made up of parts that break off easily.
Durable toys could be a little expensive since they are made of robust materials. But for sure, your baby’s safety is much more important to you than the amount of money you’re going to spend on high-quality toys. After all, you’ve worked hard to provide your child with the best items that don’t only put a smile on his face, but also ensures his safety.
Choose Age-appropriate Toys
Perhaps you’ve read the label “Warning: Choking hazard small parts. Not suitable for children under three years of age” a hundred times already. Age is an important factor when considering which toys are safe for your baby.
Of course, older kids probably understand that you aren’t supposed to eat toys. You should play with them. So the toys that are safe for other kids may not be safe for the younger ones.
Also, toys that are not suitable for your baby’s age would only probably annoy him or wouldn’t help in developing his mental and physical capabilities. A little research will help you determine the suitable toys for your baby’s age.
Make Sure It’s Non-Toxic
The worst toys you wouldn’t want to get close to your kid’s mouth are those that contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, phthalates, cadmium, chromium, and BPA. Unfortunately, most of these substances can sometimes be hidden under a toy’s lovely colors and amazing features. Therefore, parents should be wary.
Carefully examine how a certain toy is constructed. The authority requires manufacturers to indicate on the toy labels what chemicals and materials were used to construct the toy. So, it is important to take a few minutes to read the information indicated on the label. A few minutes could mean your baby’s safety. Wise parents also don’t compromise their child’s safety over cheap price.
What could be the impact on your child’s health if he is exposed to the toxic chemicals present in some low-quality toys? A child’s body, particularly babies need utmost protection against toxic materials. Their organs are still undergoing development, so their body’s immunity response against the bad effects of toxins isn’t as strong as the capability of an adult’s body.
The worst impact that these toxic substances may cause to a child’s developing body are reproductive disorders, hindered growth, mental retardation, low IQ scores, kidney disorders, behavioral problems, hearing loss, and learning difficulties.
It’s not unusual when babies put toys inside their mouth. But you can be at ease if you know that the toys you buy are made with non-toxic products.
There Should Be No Long Strings and Cords
Strangulation can cause serious injuries or can even be fatal especially if a child is left unmonitored. So, keep things that have long strings and cords away from your baby. Babies tend to tug at strings and cords. They bite on them, too. So, this toy part that may seem harmless to other kids can be a real threat to your baby.
It is recommended to avoid strings that are at least 12 inches long. Actually, toys that have long strings and cords are not the only ones you should keep away from your baby. Anything that have similar parts, for example plugged phone chargers, laptop chargers and other similar gadgets and appliances shouldn’t be near your curious little kid. These can be very dangerous, as the baby could mistake these items for toys.
It Must Be Painted With Lead-free Paint
As mentioned above, lead is one of the most toxic chemicals than can bring damage to your child’s health especially when ingested. Since not all toy manufacturers are honest, how can you make sure that a toy is coated with lead-free paint?
First, buy toys only from stores that have complete business permits from the government. Be suspicious of toys that are super cheap, you hardly have to spend your money. Cheap price could be a warning sign that the toy is made with weak materials and even toxic chemicals such as lead. Of course, the price isn’t always enough evidence to tell whether a toy is safe or not. So, look for other warning signs.
Now, if the paint of the toy seems flaky, it’s time to think twice if you’re planning to buy this product. Most likely, it is coated with paint that contains lead. If you notice this sign, it’s better not to purchase the product than to regret doing so later on.
Stuffed Animals Should Be Washable
Babies love soft toys. They love them so much that they can’t resist the urge to bite on them, or drool on them. Also, it’s not new when babies spew milk or baby food on their toys. When they have colds, they sneeze without covering their nose and mouth. Of course, they are not yet aware of the accepted sneezing etiquette. As the baby sneezes, the toys he is playing with could probably absorb the virus.
So, just imagine how dirty stuffed toys can be over time! Think how much germs, bacteria, and viruses those toys could absorb. If you choose the ones that are not washable, this could be the reason why your baby is too sickly. Baby items should be kept clean, including their toys.
Washable stuffed animals are convenient since you can minimize the amount of foreign matter that they can absorb while maintaining the toys’ good looks. As they get dirty, just soak, wash, disinfect, rinse, dry and repeat as needed. It’s that easy to keep them clean and safe for your dear baby.
No Small Magnets Attached
How safe are magnetic toys for your kids?Truth is, small magnets aren’t safe for everyone, even for adults. In fact, these items caused thousands of unexpected visits to the emergency room, mainly children comprised the total number of patients treated for magnet ingestion.
Pay attention to toys that contain loose tiny magnets. When swallowed, these can cause serious injuries in the digestive system and even death. In addition, it’s not easy to determine if a child accidentally swallowed a magnet because the symptoms could be usual ailments that we usually treat at home.
Symptoms of magnet ingestion include fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Treatment should be applied quickly if a child accidentally swallowed a magnet as this may cause serious damage in the digestive system.
Steer Clear of Sharp-Edged Toys
Sharp-edged toys such as colorful books aren’t also advisable for babies. They have poor control over the things they touch and hold. The baby might hit his face with the sharped-edged toy. Sharp edges could also scratch the baby’s soft and delicate skin, causing cuts and bruises.
Clear enough, those sharp-edged toys aren’t meant for babies. We never wish to unintentionally hurt our little ones, right?
Don’t Choose Heavy Toys
We are not a fan of heavy toys for babies. Simply carrying these toys can drain your baby’s energy or injure him. Or, if he throws this heavy toy, it might cause damage in your appliances or other household items. Well, it’s tolerable if only those things get broken. But what if, it is your baby? Heavy toys could hit him hard, and the impact could mean serious injuries.
So choose toys with the right size and right weight suitable for your baby. Babies tend to have poor control and loose grip over things. So, make sure that if ever he drops his toys, he wouldn’t get hurt or injured.
Balloons are a No-no
Babies would surely love colorful balloons bouncing in the air. However, balloons could blow up with just the slightest impact. When a balloon suddenly bursts because your baby plays rough on it, this might hurt him badly. Also, he might pick up the pieces of blown-up balloons and put them inside his mouth.
Ingested balloon pieces could block your baby’s air passageway, making it impossible for him to breathe. So, to be sure, never allow your baby to touch and play with balloons. It might upset them not to get one when they see colorful balloons, but it’s better to face the tantrums, rather than put them at risk.
The Most Durable and Suitable Toys for Your Baby
Now, we’ve come to the most awaited part. What are your best bets when it comes to choosing durable and age-appropriate toys for your baby? Let’s first learn what babies love.
Babies use their sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to learn new things. Anything that is colorful attracts them. Any sound or scent could intrigue them. They explore things by putting them inside their mouth, or touching them. Use this fact as the best clue when choosing baby toys.
Here are the five best picks for your baby:
Washable Stuffed Animals
Teach your babies important lessons and facts about animals by letting them play on washable stuffed animals that are soft and cuddly. Just imagine the contagious chuckle and priceless smile of your baby while listening to the mimicked animal sounds you make.
Make sure the stuffed animals you buy don’t have loose sewn-on parts that your baby can easily detach with continuous tugging and biting. Wash them thoroughly every other day to keep germs, bacteria, and viruses away from your baby.
Let the fun start by letting your baby’s imagination dwell on the world of cute animals. You can also use these stuff animals to entertain your baby while humming gentle lullabies to help him fall asleep.
Cloth Books with Round Edges
Don’t you just love bedtime stories when you were young? Your baby will surely love it, too. He will love it even more with the soft cloth books that are gentle on the hands. Sure enough, he can’t resist flipping the pages over and over again! Unlike books made of paper, its soft cloth pages are very durable no matter how hard your baby tries to tear them.
Cloth books with round edges are the safest option for your baby. You may also opt for those that are washable so you can keep it clean every time your baby uses it. The best thing about washable soft cloth books is that the pages don’t fade even if you repeatedly wash them.
These books help parents to provide early education for their kids. It stimulates their visual and touch sensations, as well as the power of their imagination. What an exciting way to play and learn at the same time with cloth books!
Parents need something to distract their babies when bathing them. The existence of bath toys is the answer. Choose bath toys that are big enough not to fit inside your baby’s mouth, yet lightweight enough to float in the water. We usually see baby ducks as the best choice for this.
Babies love squishy bath toys. They make bathing more fun than usual. Who says taking baths need to bore them?
The best baby toys won’t be complete without the old little rattle. Babies like the repetitive sounds rattles make. It entertains them very much. It’s good if you can choose a rattle that doesn’t produce irritating noise that’s harsh on your baby’s ears. Choose one that produces a gentle sound that’s enough to entertain him.
Usually, rattles are designed to withstand rough play. Babies like so much to drop toys and let you pick them up repeatedly. Sometimes, they also hit rattles onto hard surfaces. Also, don’t forget to check if the rattle is painted with lead-free paint.
Soft and Textured Balls
When it comes to durability, soft and textured balls for babies are the best choice. It helps develop their sense of touch, hand-eye coordination, and motor skills. The typical size of these balls is also ideal for interactive play between babies and siblings or parents.
These balls don’t have parts that break easily. Also, they are big enough not to fit inside a baby’s mouth. It is super ideal for drop-and-throw play that babies are fond of.
It’s not super easy to choose the right toys for your baby. But, it doesn’t have to be a tough chore. Just keep in mind the main objective for buying toys for your baby. Your aim is to let your baby enjoy playing while developing his learning faculties. This is why baby toys need to be age-appropriate, durable, and safe. While ensuring these important factors, you also need to choose toys that are interesting, fun, and attention-grabbing.
Steer-clear from toys that are coated with lead-containing paint, made with toxic chemicals, intimidating and heavy, contain loose magnets and sewn-on parts, made up of small parts that break off easily, and those that have long strings and chords.
Your best bets are washable stuffed animals, soft cloth books with round edges, durable soft and textured balls, fun and squishy bath toys, and the good old rattle. Choose a variety of toys for your baby so you can make the most of fun play and learning experience.
Last advice: You are the best playmate that your baby can have. Never let work and unnecessary activities rob you off the precious time you can spend to nurture your baby and show how much you love them.