Toy safety standards, what to watch?

There are millions of toys and hundreds of new toys in stores every year. Toys are made to entertain toddlers and play an important role in their development. But every year, dozens of children are treated in emergency departments of hospitals for injuries related to toys. Choking is a particular risk for children aged 3 and under, as they tend to put objects in their mouths.

Toy manufacturers must follow certain guidelines and label most new toys for specific age groups. Check on the packaging that the desired toy meets the following standards: Canadian consumer product standards, American ASTM F963 or European EN-71.

 What to keep in mind when buying toys? 

  • Upholstered toys must be washable. They must also have the label of the manufacturer's padding permit to ensure the safety of the padding material.
  • Avoid toys from other decades, even those offered by friends and family. These toys may have sentimental value but may not meet current safety standards. Or, they can be so worn out by the game that they can break down and become dangerous. So do a full inspection before giving a used toy to a child.
  • Always read the labels to make sure that a toy is appropriate for the age of the child.
  • Use your own judgment - and consider the temperament, habits and behavior of your child each time you buy a new toy. You may think that an advanced child over others can handle toys for older children. But age levels for toys are determined by safety factors, not by intelligence or maturity. There is a huge difference between toys for children under 3 and over 3 for safety standards.

What to do to avoid injury with toys at home?

  • The toys should be large enough - at least 1¼ inches (3 centimeters) in diameter and 2¼ inches (6 centimeters) in length - so they can not be swallowed or lodged in the trachea. A small parts tester, or choke tube, can determine if a toy is too small. These tubes are designed to be about the same diameter as a child's trachea. If an object gets into the tube, then it's too small for a young child. If you can not find a choke tube, a roll of toilet paper can be used for the same purpose.
  • Avoid balls, coins, balls and games with balls that are 4.4 cm (1.75 in.) In diameter or less because they can lodge in the throat above the trachea and restrict breathing.
  • When checking a toy for a baby or toddler, make sure it is unbreakable and strong enough to resist chewing. Also, make sure it does not have sharp ends or small pieces, ropes longer than 7 inches (18 cm) and pieces that could become pinch points for small fingers.
  • Handmade and handmade toys should be carefully evaluated. They may not have been tested for safety. Periodically check these toys for loose parts or seams that may come loose before giving them to your baby.

After buying safe toys, it's also important to make sure kids know how to use them. The best way to do this is to supervise the game. Playing with your children teaches them to play safely while having fun.