Nothing piques a peewee’s interest quite like a new toy – exploring it with her fingers, eyes and mouth and getting excited every time it makes a sound. Toys are so much fun. But they can be dangerous too, if you’re not careful.
According to a study done by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the number of children treated for toy-related injuries at the emergency department rose by an alarming 15 per cent between 2012 and 2013. Kids between the ages of 1 and 3 are at the highest risk. If you’re worried that the toys you buy your tyke might pose as a danger to her, keep these things in mind when shopping.
HEED ALL WARNINGS ON A TOY PACKAGE It’s shocking to see the number of parents who overlook the age recommendation as they feel their little one is ready for a particular toy or they don’t see anything dangerous about it. But hazards can lurk anywhere. “You might be unaware of detachable parts which might be a choking hazard,” warns Dr Wendy Sinnathamby a specialist in paediatrics at the Raffles Children’s Centre. Some playthings might also have small parts that junior might try to ingest. So always check the fine print before buying any toy. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
SIZE OF TOY Make sure everything your kewpie plays with is at least 3cm wide and 6cm high. This is to ensure he’s not able to swallow it or that it gets stuck in his windpipe. To determine if a toy is too small, place it inside a toilet roll. If it fits, it’s not appropriate for your sweetie.
"You might be unaware of detachable parts which might be a choking hazard."
BATTERY-OPERATED TOYS Should always come with a battery case that secures with screws so that little fingers can’t pry them open. Batteries and battery fluid are a serious threat to children not only because they can cause choking, but also if ingested can result in internal bleeding and chemical burns.
SHARP POINTS OR EDGES At this stage, junior is all about exploring with her hands and mouth so check for any pointy or sharp edges before handing it over as it can easily cut her or another person. These toys will be more appropriate when she’s older and can listen to instructions.
LOUD SOUNDS Toys that make music or sounds, such as guns that shoot or a dancing dog, will surely catch and keep your cutie’s attention. However, that’s not always a good thing. If she keeps insisting on repeating the sound, and hold it close to her ears, it could affect her hearing over time.
STRINGS, STRAPS OR CORDS There shouldn’t be any long strings on a toy as they can easily wrap around your wee one’s delicate neck and strangle her.
ENSURE THE TOY IS COATED WITH NON-TOXIC PAINT OR FINISH As exposure to harmful chemicals can result in lead poisoning and seriously damage junior’s kidneys, brains and nervous system.
It's also advisable to keep an eye on lil bub even when he is able to entertain himself with his toys. Or you can even play along with your peewee so that you can experience more with lil bub too!