When it comes to buying toys for your baby, there are a ton of issues to take into consideration. Safety is obviously a huge priority, but the developmental and educational value of a toy is incredibly important as well. The first few years of a child's life is critical in every developmental area, and every experience contributes to that growth. The more complex these experiences are, the more stimulating they will be. A variety of toys that encourage focus in several different areas can encourage these complex experiences.
However, above all else, pay attention to safety concerns. Make sure to read all package labels and instructions, paying careful attention to warning statements. If you feel unsure about it, call the manufacturer with any questions or check their policies online. Educational/Developmental Value:
Get a variety of toys that focus on several different developmental areas. Sensory skills, motor skills, cognitive skills, and social skills are all aspects of your child's growth that should be paid attention to. Toys that move, and have different colors, texture, and sounds can all contribute to these areas of development. Noise is one thing that can get forgotten when looking into toys for a baby. Toys that create different noises are great, since they help enhance the developmental experience for children. But too sharp and too loud of a noise can actually cause hearing damage in infants. Try for soft rattles and plush toys that squeak and light up. That way, you won't get sick of the noise either! Safety:
As with most things concerning young children, there are a host of safety concerns that need to be addressed. Young children tend to get into a lot of trouble when they're not being supervised, so it's best to eliminate as many potential dangers as possible. Avoid any toy that has sharp edges, can break easily, or will wear and tear easily. Since babies will put pretty much anything in their mouths, non-toxic toys are a must. Try to buy toys made with wood, organic cloth, metal, and non-toxic sealers and paints. Make sure that everything can be washed gently with soap to avoid spreading germs.
It's also best to avoid toys with strings or any choking hazards. A good test to see if a part of a toy (or a toy itself) could choke your child is to see if it will fit inside an empty toilet paper roll. Avoid detachable bits and pieces. A child is bound to find the one little piece on a toy that could hurt them, so it's best to make sure there's nothing they can mess with. Magnets are another object that should be avoided. Sometimes small magnets are hidden inside toys, and can fall out during use. If swallowed, two magnets can cause serious harm inside a child's body.
If you find yourself second guessing a part of a toy, don't purchase it or call the manufacturer. It's always better to be safe than sorry. Reading up on toy recall lists, checking the toy's age range and paying attention to age-range guidelines are always good ideas.
Browse through a variety of baby toys here, along with information on where to purchase them.