Monday, December 12, 2011

Talking To Family & Sitters About Play Safety - Holiday Toy Safety Post #2

You may have a grandma or child care provider around the house when the floodgates of new toys arrive around holiday time. One Sassy Doctor has outlined some basic toy and play safety topics for discussion with anyone caring for your child related to play safety:

  1. Intended Use—A supervising adult should understand the intended use of play products. A rattle, for example, is intended to be used as a rattle (not a “bonk your brother on the head with” toy).
  2. Even baby and toddler toys come with instructions. You and anyone caring for your child should understand how these products are supposed to be put together and used. I recall putting a baby bouncer together completely wrong and wondering why our girls were hanging suspended in mid-air when we first tried to use it. Clearly, this One Sassy Doctor didn’t read the manual carefully! 
  3. When opening new toys, it is important to discard all plastic wrappings. When assembling toys or changing batteries, it is important to secure small parts and batteries in a safe place. Also, tools such as a screwdriver may present their own safety hazards.
  4. Make sure anyone playing with your kids understands age recommendations for toys and what your expectations are for safe play between different aged siblings. You should want older children to play with small parts in a designated area of the house?
  5. Explain safety hazards with soft toys and young children. Soft toys (as well as blankets, pillows, and other soft items) are not intended to be in the sleep environment of young babies.
  6. If a toy breaks, it may present a new safety hazard. Make sure your expectations are clear—do you want her/him to throw a toy away when it breaks or show to you to decide about the next step?
  7. Toys should be put away safely to avoid unnecessary trips and falls. Toy boxes and toy chests should have a lid that will stay unlocked in any position and ventilation holes.
  8. Think about small parts with children ages 3 and younger or older children who exhibit hand-mouth behaviors.
  9. Think about long strings/cords and the risk of strangulation. Don’t have toys with long cords in reach of an infant’s sleep or play space.
  10. Broken or un-inflated balloons are a choking hazard. This is one of the most common causes for choking.
Also, if your child has a developmental or physical disability, make sure to explain specific safety issues that may apply.