How to Keep Toys Safe at Home
- 1). Choose the right toys. Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's website for recall notices. Read labels before purchasing toys for things like small parts warnings. If you purchase older, used toys, check them over carefully for any signs of wear or damage, then look online for warnings or recall notices.
- 2). Make sure your child's toys are age- and development-appropriate. Age-appropriateness is not just about your child's intellectual and physical development; it's about safety in use. Obviously, small toys are inappropriate for babies, but toys safe for a baby can be surprisingly dangerous for an older child. A bored older child can find many unintended uses for a baby's ride-on toy - riding brake-free down stairs and hills, for instance. Get rid of or store all age-inappropriate toys.
- 3). Sanitize all toys regularly. Spray down smooth plastic toys with antibacterial spray like Lysol or Clorox, let sit 10 minutes, then rinse and allow to dry. Wash stuffed animals in hot water if possible. You can also purchase handheld ultraviolet sanitizers that quickly and safely sterilize fluffy toys. Bath toys that allow bath water inside should be thrown out and replaced after a couple of weeks, as it is impossible to eliminate germs in and on them.
- 4). Examine toys frequently, especially favorite toys. Hard wear can knock the stuffing out of even the toughest toy, and babies can choke on that interesting fluff. Re-stuff animals and stitch up holes with sturdy thread. Remove and throw out any loose bits you cannot stitch back on; if this means Teddy does not have an eye, embroider or draw one back on, or give him an interesting eye patch. Examine wooden toys for splinters, and sand down any damaged areas. You can also sand sharp edges on many plastic toys, if necessary. Glue together loose - not broken - parts on toys. Throw out anything that is broken.
- 5). Take extra precautions with liquids around electronic toys. Keep electronic toys away from sippy cups. Wipe up any spills right away, and teach your child to do the same. Be aware that electronic toys have power sources, and that children may swallow button-style batteries if they can get them out. With children aged three and under, always supervise electronic toy play closely.