It seems that the first toys that babies get are soft, cuddly toys. Soft toys offer comfort and security, without hurting anyone. Right?
Well, not quite. The problem with soft toys is that they are often given to very young babies. Babies cuddle up to soft toys, they shake them, and they bite and chew them. So it's really important that you're choosing safe soft toys to give to your baby.
The ACCC has product safety guidelines in place for soft toys made for children under 3 years of age. But it's up to you to check the toy before you give it to your baby. So here's what to look for to ensure that youre baby has a safe cuddle buddy:
- Good quality manufacturing is a must. Make sure all decorative items such as clothing, eyes or nose buttons and shoes or accessories are firmly stitched on and avoid anything that is just glued on.
- Quality manufacturing is also important to ensure that the soft toy can withstand washing – soft toys in particular will collect lots of germs. Regularly hand washing soft toys in a safe laundry powder or liquid will keep your baby’s toys clean and healthy.
- Make sure that you check the toy each time you give it to your baby. Even where decorative items are firmly stitched on, babies can chew these items off and they can become a choking hazard for your baby or toddler.
- Avoid dangly bits like ribbons and bows that can undo; including strings and cords that can present a choking hazard or end up wrapped around baby’s throat.
- Check the contents of the filling. Avoid stuffed toys that contain small beads that babies can choke on. Ideally, go with something stuffed with organic cotton, or corn fibre.
- Pay attention to the age recommendations and warnings on soft toys – they’re there in order to comply with safety standards in place to avoid harming your child.
- Look for organic cotton toys, or at the very least, natural fibres like wool, cotton and bamboo. Your baby will chew and suck on these toys, so go with the safest materials you can afford.
It’s not just the physical aspects and structure of soft toys you need to look for. Labelling is equally as important.
Organic soft toys should also be OEKO-TEX certified for textiles, meaning that they’ve passed independent testing and are free of harmful substances such as prohibited dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde and heavy metals.
The CE Mark is originally developed for toys manufactured and sold in the European Economic Area, but as toys have since been exported all around the world, it is now a symbol recognised worldwide. The CE Mark ensures that products have passed the essential safety requirements for the EEA.
Avoid toys that contain flame-retardants or are flame resistant. Flame retardants contain toxic chemicals that are linked to numerous long term problems including neurodevelopmental delays in children, liver toxicity and thyroid toxicity. Flame retardant chemicals do more harm than they do good in preventing fires or limiting the spread of fires. Fibres such as wool are naturally flame resistant.
And finally, always supervise your baby when he's playing with toys. Remove all toys from cots at bedtime, too. Happy cuddling!
If you're looking for safer soft toys for your baby, don't forget to jump over to Hello Charlie and check out the range of organic soft toys
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