Infant Toy Safety Tips for New Parents

If you are a new parent or a parent of a new baby no matter how many other children are in your household, you'll probably be receiving gifts for the new little one either from a baby shower or upon their birth or for Christmas, Christenings or other welcoming occasions.  These gifts may come in the form of new toys or clothing or hand-me-down toys or clothing from friends or family members. 

Before you settle back and relax handing these gifts over to your small infant, there are some safety facts to consider.

  1. Consider choking hazards.  The most obvious thing to look for is whether or not a toy has small pieces or parts that could detach from toy and become lodged in child's throat.  Even some clothing articles have buttons or embellishments that could come loose as small babies typically chew on most everything they can get their mouth on.  An easy way to determine whether or not a toy or a part of a toy is too small is the old "toilet paper roll" test.  Simply take an empty toilet paper cylinder tube (the cardboard part) & put the toy into the opening.  If it fits into the tube, the toy or the part of the toy is too small and is considered a potential choking danger or hazard.
  2. Look at strings on toys and clothing.  If the string is 7" or longer, do not allow child to play with the toy or wear the garment as they could become entangled in the cord around their neck.  This is a problem with blinds and neckties on hoodies that have been recalled because children, not just infants, have become tangled in the cord around their neck and left to hang - in some cases - to their death.
  3. Check for government recalls especially on hand-me-downs as safety concerns may not have been known on the particular toy or clothing item when your friend or family member used the item they are handing off to you and your child.  Once an issue arises of safety, the item is recalled & can be searched for online through government recall websites.
  4. Check to make sure there is no known danger of lead in item.  Toys made in China have been made known to often contain high levels of lead, but not all are a problem.  Typically paint colors of red, yellow, orange and green have a higher risk of containing lead than other colors as lead chromates are often used to produce these shades.

If you are in doubt, err on the side of caution and don't allow your child to play with the toy or wear the clothing that is given as a gift.  If the item has been recalled, you might be able to return it to a local store.  Otherwise; if your gift-giver was kind enough to include a gift receipt, don't be afraid to use it and purchase something else you know to be safe.  You can always write a nice thank-you note regarding the thought and how much you liked the item even if you choose to exchange it for safety's sake.

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Felisa Daskeo
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Posted on Mar 3, 2010
Richard Regener
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Posted on Dec 28, 2009