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  4. Baby & Toddler Toys

Baby and Toddler Toys

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When it comes to buying a toy for your baby or toddler, 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 are critical to development, and every experience contributes to that growth. A variety of toys that encourage focus in several different areas, including educational games, 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 anything, call the manufacturer with any questions or check the policies online.

What baby toys have educational and 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, textures and sounds can all contribute to these areas of development. Sound is one thing that can get forgotten when you’re looking into a toy for a baby or toddler. Toys that create different noises are great, since they help enhance the developmental experience for children. But noises that are too sharp and too loud 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!

What toys are safe for my baby or toddler?

As with most things concerning young children, there are a host of safety concerns that need to be addressed. Avoid any toy that has sharp edges, can break easily or will wear and tear easily. Since babies and even some toddlers will put pretty much anything in their mouths, nontoxic toys are a must. Try to buy a toy made with wood, organic cloth, metal or nontoxic 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 that might easily break off. A child is bound to find the one little piece on a toy that could cause harm, so it's best to make sure there's nothing that can be messed with. Magnets should also 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.