There can be a bewildering variety of toys for babies out there to choose from, making parents wonder what they should be getting for their child. Further, what is age appropriate, what is safe for a baby, and will a baby even play with the toy at his or her age; are all aspects you want to keep in mind.
Big is better
See all the signs on toys that say “Not suitable for children below 3?” There is a good reason for this. Small parts in the toys made for babies are a no-no because of choking hazards.
So for small babies, bigger toys that they cannot get into their mouths are best.
The test to administer, according to some experts is this – if the toy will pass through the tube of a toilet paper roll, it is too small.
Other choking hazards in toys for babies
Also look out for any buttons, cords, eyes, beads and so on that the toys could have, which could detach and get into a child’s mouth. In particular toys with long cords in them, even baby clothes that have such cords, belts or loose straps in them, should be avoided; this is something a that a baby may get hold of and choke on or get entangled in.
Magnets are something else that should be watched out for – these may not be evident since they could be inside the toy and a parent may not realize when it may come loose.
Even after the age of 3, if your child is still putting everything into his or her mouth, continue the practice of avoiding toys with small parts.
Buy good quality toys
Some baby toys may be cheaper and may be attractive and bright to look at. But the better quality toys for babies have had more research and development going into their manufacture; they are better put together, using better quality raw materials (read non toxic) and less likely to fall apart causing harm.
Is this the right toy for baby’s age?
Not only are toys for older kids less likely to appeal to a young baby, they may also be inappropriate for other reasons. For instance an older child’s toy may be too heavy for a young baby, or it may be difficult for the baby to grip hold of – if the toy is too heavy or awkward, the baby is likely to drop it, likely harming himself or herself.
This is particularly true for small babies who play lying on their back holding an object up above their head. Losing their grip on the toy is common and more often than not the toy lands up on the baby’s face, startling baby to say the least.
The Safest options in toys for babies
Teething toys, small plush toys or blocks, rattles, large soft balls, and mobiles suspended over cots are the best and safest options when it comes to toys for small babies. These cannot be swallowed or bitten off, so they are not a choking hazard. They are also not a suffocation hazard. They also hold the interest of babies, and so for the first half year of life, these may be all that a baby needs or is interested in.