Select Safe Toys for Babies

What safety factors need to be considered when selecting plush, soft-fill and teething toys for babies.

Plush and Soft-fill Toys / Teething Toys

Babies learn about the world through their senses of touch, sight, and smell. Thus, toys play an integral role at an early age in helping them grow physically, mentally and socially. Since toy safety is a crucial issue for parents, choosing toys should be done based on sound information and judgment. Before choosing toys, it is essential to consider all appropriate safety and regulatory issues.

Soft-fill and Plush Toys
These toys are a favorite. Cuddly animals or dolls with different textures help babies to discover and develop their sense of touch. However, before purchasing, many safety factors must be weighed.

A general safety checklist should include:

• Materials
– Look for non-toxic toys and phthalate and BPA free
– Make sure the label indicates the material is washable.
– Avoid toys with batteries unless the compartment is not accessible to a
child, i.e., screwed shut.
– Look for toys that are flame resistant

• Choke Hazard
– Avoid buttons, batteries, yarn, ribbons, eyes, beads, cords, string and
plastic parts that could easily be chewed or snapped off.

• Construction
– All seams and appendages should be tightly sown and resist spreading
under pressure.

• Sharp Edges
– Avoid sharp edges such as plastic horns and claws.

• Size
– Avoid oversize soft-filled, and plush toys for small babies due to the
danger of suffocation.

Teething Toys
Babies that drool and chew on anything they can find indicates the start of teething. Teething is an exciting developmental time but has some discomfort, both for mom and baby. Teething toys are available to help your baby chew on something safe, and useful. Teething toys can provide a measure of relief. They come in a wide variety of shapes and materials, but due to the fact they used in the baby’s mouth, safety should be a primary concern. The journal Environmental Science & Technology research published a study that found that among 59 teethers tested in the USA, 26 were found to include unsafe amounts of hazardous substances.

A parent’s safety checklist should include the following items at a minimum:

• Chemicals
– Look for only phthalate, antimicrobial agents such as triclosan and
triclocarban, and BPA free
– Look for non-toxic labeling, but also research the manufacturer
– Liquid filled teethers generally have salt water or glycerin and water,
so are considered safe, in the event of breakage or leaking, but it is
essential to check.
– Avoid teething toys that appear painted.

• Size and Shape
– Do not choose a teething toy that is too small nor too large

HQTS toy experts hope all parents and babies can enjoy the safe use of toys throughout childhood. As a top provider of toy testing services in China, we work hard to prevent unsafe toys from entering the market and damaging a child’s prospects for healthy growth.

Watch for future papers on HQTS safe toy initiatives.