Every parent has read the reports of imported toys that are painted with lead-based paint. Those reports strike pure terror in the hearts of parents everywhere. Toys that are “recalled” by manufacturers and retailers for safety reasons make us quake with fear.
Finding that our little ones are busily playing with toys that we bought for them that could make them sick or kill them is an experience that makes the parent feel like he or she has failed to keep the child safe. Of course, it wasn’t the parent’s fault, but that fact does nothing to make the parent feel better OR keep the child safe.
So the question is, how do we, as parents, buy toys for our children that are safe? I’m not sure that there is any sure-fire way, but there are some guidelines that parents can use when choosing toys for their children that will help with the safety concerns.
Choose age-appropriate toys: On most packaging, there is a phrase that says “recommended for children 3 to 5″ (or whatever age group the toy is intended for). But don’t just blindly accept the recommendation. Examine the toy in question. If there are small pieces in the toy or small items that could come off of the toy when it’s in use, don’t buy the toy even if it is deemed age-appropriate for your toddler that puts everything into his mouth.
Choose toys that are manufactured in America when at all possible: This is a hard one. Labels can say, “Made in the USA” when they are, in fact, they are only assembled in the United States. Still, toys that are made following U.S. guidelines for child safety are certainly safer than those made where there are no guidelines for child safety.