Toy safety guidelines


There are millions of toys in the market-place with thousands of new ones introduced every year, but are all toys and children’s products safe and how do you know how to choose safe products for your kids?

Although most manufacturers set guidelines on their product packaging to assist parents in selecting age appropriate toys from babies to teenagers, it is up to parents to become safety ‘experts’  when it comes to their children’s well-being and be aware of toy safety. Here are some guidelines to help you to make playtime safe and fun:

Select toys with care

  • Read the labels on the toys and look for other package warnings such as ‘small pieces’, ‘requires supervision’, ‘flame-resistant’, ‘non-toxic’ or washing instructions. If the toy is not labelled, do not buy it!
  • Choose a toy that is age-appropriate for child. Buying a toy that is intended for an older child can be harmful to your child.
  • Look out for sharp edges, small parts and any other moving objects that can break off and land up in your baby’s mouth.
  • Check dolls and stuffed animals to ensure that the eyes and buttons are secure. Look for well manufactured toys with strong components and try avoid easily breakable or shatter-prone toys.
  • Toys with sharp or pointed edges, short cords or strings attached can potentially be dangerous to your child.
  • Look for safety certification like International Safety Standards,  ISO standards, ICASA or SABS approval.

Potential toy dangers

  • Potential hazards to your child include choking or aspiration of small parts, strangulation, cuts by sharp parts of the toy, injury by projectiles, drowning. motor vehicle incidents involving toys and lead paint.
  • The packaging of the toys can be dangerous for your child. Remove and discard all packaging from a toy before allowing a small child to play with it.
  • Any electronic toys that need to be plugged into a power outlet are not age appropriate for children under 10 years of age. Stick with battery operated for younger children. Make sure the battery compartment is secure and cannot be easily opened by your child.
  • Broken toys should be thrown away. Check your child’s toys regularly and look for damaged or broken parts that may pose a hazard like splinters on wooden toys, loose eyes or small parts on dolls, rips or exposed wires in stuffed animals, or rust on metal toys. Repair  the toy or throw it away.
  • Loud toys can damage your child’s hearing. The noise of some rattles, squeak toys, and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn so supervise and check before your child uses it.
  • Inappropriate age use. Toys that may be safe for older children can be extremely dangerous in the hands of toddlers and babies.
  • Check for small parts on toys that can become a choking hazard.

Age-by-age toy guidelines

Do you stick to toy safety guidelines?

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