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Baby Toys and Playthings

Updated on October 5, 2011

Choosing Baby Toys

Walk into any toy store and you may quickly be overwhelmed by the vast amount of baby toys available for your little ones entertainment. There are plastic baby toys and wood toys, fun toys, educational toys and (let's be honest here) pointless toys.

How do you pick the right ones for your baby?

Consider a few things before falling for the appealing packaging and promises of hours of fun and excitement for your little one.  Save yourself some time ad money by getting a good idea of what you want for your baby before shopping. If you are buying online, checking toy reviews can be a tremendous help in making the right choice.

Baby Toys can be simple.
Baby Toys can be simple.
Baby toys to stimulate your baby's mind.
Baby toys to stimulate your baby's mind.

Baby Toys : Safe and Appropriate

First, determine if the toy is age appropriate. Be sure that the toy is safe for your child and does not pose a choking hazard. It should also be age appropriate for your baby’s developmental level. Giving a baby a toy that they are not ready for may cause them unnecessary frustration.

  • Check the age level listed on the packaging. Your baby may be able to appreciate something that is for a slightly older age, or simply may prefer to play with toys on their developmental level.

  • See if your baby is interested in the toy. If possible, let your baby see, touch or try it out before you buy it. You may fall in love with a particular toy, only to get home and discover your baby wants nothing to do with it. If possible, let an older baby choose!
  • The perfect toy for your baby will help them to develop skills or learn new ones, and will be neither too hard for them to play with nor to easy.

Determine the safety of the toy before purchasing it, or allowing your baby to play with it, if It was a gift. Toys are responsible for 100,000 injuries a year, so caution is necessary. Pay attention to all product recalls.

Qualities to look for in a baby toy :

  • Construction: Evaluate the construction of the toy. Is it sturdy? A toy that will break easily if your child climbs on it is not safe, and a toy that could break into smaller pieces that your baby could put in his mouth is equally dangerous.
  • Wash ability: if you cannot effectively clean the toy, it is not n acceptable choice. Baby toys that cannot be washed can become breeding grounds for bacteria.
  • Non-Toxic: The toy must have a non-toxic paint or finish.
  • Sound: Toys with loud sounds are not good for babies and small children, because it can damage their hearing. Look for toys that have softer sounds or volume control buttons.
  • Weight: toys that could harm your baby if they fell on her are unsafe.

Stimulating Baby Toys

Every toy in your baby’s room does not have to be a stimulating, educational toy, but babies do like things that stimulate their senses, like a mobile, mirror, musical bear, and anything they can safely put in their mouth.

As your baby gets older, you can include toys that will help improve their coordination, motor skills and stimulate their imagination and creativity.

Safe baby toys.
Safe baby toys.

Cuddly Baby Toys

Stuffed animals are all cute and lovable, but they aren’t all safe for your baby to play with. If you baby receives unsafe stuffed animals as a gift, put them away for a few years.

  • Check stuffed animals to be sure they don’t have buttons for noses, or eyes that could possibly come off, creating a choking hazard.
  • Strings that are longer than 6 inches are off limits, including bows, collars or little dog leashes.
  • Stuffed animals should be washable, and you should wash them frequently to ensure that germs do not collect on them.

One last thing to consider: how do you feel about the toy? Do you approve of it philosophically? This is not a big issue with infant toys, because it is unlikely that you will see a toy gun or something you don’t agree with made specifically for an infant As your baby grows ,you may need to pay closer attention to what the toys you buy are promoting.

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    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      6 years ago from The City of Generals

      Great tips Amy. We really have to pay closer attention to what the toys are promoting, and if they're environment-friendly, all the more that it's worth the buy. Will keep those tips in my pocket. Thanks for sharing.

      Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    • profile image

      Wooden Toys 

      8 years ago

      I am a strong believer in wooden toys. Not only are they better for the environment they stimulate a child’s imagination like no other alternatives can. They are also beautiful, safe and durable meaning they can be passed on for others to enjoy. Congratulations on a great hub.

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      8 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks OTMommy! I have the same issue in my home with toys that we have passed down for a few years now. It is really something we have to keep an eye on regularly.

    • OTmommy profile image

      OTmommy 

      8 years ago from Southern USA

      Great hub! I like that you included links to recalled products. There are 4 years in between my 2 kids and I have noticed that many of my older one's toys have been recalled. Since many of the recalls have been due to lead in paint and my youngest seems to stick every toy in his mouth, I regularly check to see what has been recalled or is hazardous.

    • profile image

      Zerihun Kahsai 

      8 years ago

      Hi! I am very happy to see your job. It is admirable

      If possible will you please send me your catalog?

      In advance thank you very much for your support.

      You’re sincerely

      zerihun kahsai

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      9 years ago from Connecticut

      I totally agree! I have become very careful about what I buy - I want it to be good quality so it can also be passed on to someone else (and not go into a landfill somewhere). Thanks for reading!

    • Ashley Joy profile image

      Ashley Joy 

      9 years ago

      Lots of baby toys at large toy stores are junk. I find much better toys at the small specialty toy shops.

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks Whitney :)

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      These are great tips Amy.

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