Imagine giving your child a toy on Christmas morning. He adores the toy, carries it everywhere, sleeps with it, even bathes with it. But after awhile your child starts to develop a strange rash. Thinking it must be allergies or a bug bite, you take him to the pediatrician only to discover that your child has harmful chemicals in his body, all because a company didn’t take toy testing seriously.
This is a worst-case scenario that isn’t meant to scare you — don’t go rifling through your child’s toy box and throw away anything that looks suspicious. But it’s important to make sure your child’s toys have undergone proper toy testing. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission checks toys for harmful chemicals when they are produced, but it is still important to stick to general guidelines when buying new toys for your child.
Toys that are made of fabric or some sort of synthetic material should clearly state that they are flame resistant or flame retardant on the label. Some children will play with matches or candles if left unsupervised even for a split second. Ensuring the fabric on your child’s favorite toy won’t go up in flames will help protect your child.
Additionally, all stuffed animals should be machine washable. Children love to take their stuffed animals on all sorts of adventures, through mud, animal feces and other gross things they might find in your home or outside. All kinds of germs and diseases can cling to stuffed animals. They should be washed weekly to ensure that they are safe for your child to snuggle.
Any toys that are decorated with paint should be lead-free. This may seem like common sense, but many toys that are manufactured every year still contain some form of lead. Babies and young children love to put toys in their mouth, meaning it’s crucial that any paint on a toy be safe for your child.
Children love to color and paint, so it’s important to check that all art supplies, from markers to sidewalk chalk, contain non-toxic materials. Crayons and paints should be labeled “ASTM D-4236” on the package. This means the product has been tested and approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
While it can be fun to poke around at garage sales and accept hand-me-down toys from friends, your best bet is to kindly turn down those toys. Older toys don’t meet current safety standards set for toy testing, meaning they could be harmful for your child. Remember that testing is important, from toy testing to solar power testing