Safe toys are:
- Non-toxic (check the label)
- Non-flammable (flame-resistant)
- Big enough so children cannot swallow them or put them in their mouth
- Compliant with Canadian government safety standards (www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/reports-publications/consumer-education/your-child-safe/play-time.html).
It’s best to avoid soft vinyl (PVC) toys and rattles because some substances used to make them more flexible are toxic. Children can absorb these substances by chewing on them. In the bath and wading pool, avoid rubber toys that retain water because they can breed germs.
Before you buy a toy
- Read the label to find out the recommended age.
- Examine the toy to see if it is easy to handle.
- Check that there are no sharp edges or pointed tips.
- Make sure the eyes and noses of stuffed animals are sewn on securely. Parts on large toys should not come off easily.
- Avoid toys with cords, especially elastic cords that could get wrapped around the child’s neck.
- Be careful with small items, small parts, and watch batteries-style, as the child could put them in his nose or mouth and choke.
- Make sure baby toys like rattles and teething rings are large enough so they cannot get caught in your baby’s throat and choke him.
- Musical toys are great because they stimulate baby’s sense of hearing and sight, but check the gears and make sure small parts do not come apart.
- Be careful however with toys that are too noisy as they can damage children’s hearing and irritate parents. Try them out before you buy them.
You can find all kinds of low-cost second-hand items for baby, including toys and furniture. Be aware, however, that more stringent regulations are in place now to safeguard children.
For more information, read the brochure Is Your Child Safe? Play Time at www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/reports-publications/consumer-education/your-child-safe/play-time.html.
You can also contact Health Canada toll-free at 1-866-662‑0666 or by email at cps‑spc@hc‑sc.
Packaging and batteries
- Throw away all plastic, cellophane, and polystyrene (Styrofoam) packaging.
- Properly install the right type of batteries in toys to prevent leaks. Battery fluid is corrosive and should not come into contact with your child’s skin, let alone his mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Do not let your child play with batteries.