Toys are not optional. Every newborn baby needs a toy that will stimulate their senses and help hone their developing skills – physical, mental, and emotional.
Because your baby is going to spend a lot of time with their toys, it is vital to choose toys that are great for their well-being. This means that there is a responsibility to look for toys that are not only stimulating and educational but also safe for a newborn baby to use.
This responsibility, of course, falls on your shoulders – but fret not! You don’t need to navigate this aspect of parenting blindly. We will help you take the guesswork out of toy safety and choose the right kind of toys for your newborn baby.
Why does my newborn baby need toys?
Toys are created not only for entertainment but also for education. If you’re wondering why a wee little newborn baby needs toys, that’s because toys serve as tools to help them understand the world better.
You see, even if they are little, your newborn baby is already spending so much time observing and learning. Their toys help in stimulating their senses. For example, a plush toy with a textured surface will stimulate your newborn baby’s tactile sense. A rattle, on the other hand, has gentle jingling sounds that will stimulate their hearing. You may not see it, but these toys are also helping develop your baby’s fine and gross motor skills.
Toys also help boost your newborn baby’s mental and emotional development. They help improve your baby’s focus and attention. Toys can be used to teach your baby concepts such as object permanence and cause-effect relationships. Playing with toys may also help your baby develop feelings of empathy and compassion.
As you may realize, toys have countless benefits for newborn babies. Unfortunately, not every toy is made equal. What are the things that you need to know about your baby’s toys? Here’s a checklist for you.
Toy Safety Checklist for Newborn Babies
Buying toys can be tricky, but armed with the right information, you’ll definitely find safe options in no time. Here are the things you need to remember in buying toys for your newborn baby.
1. Look for toys that are age-appropriate.
The first thing you need to consider is your child’s age. While it may be tempting to go for toys that are more advanced, these may not be made with your newborn baby in mind. It’s best to pick toys that are age-appropriate and suitable for your baby’s skills, abilities, and interests. This will also minimize frustration and risks.
2. Only choose well-made toys.
Next, always prioritize quality. It is better to have a few items that are high-quality than plenty of poorly-made trinkets at home. Poorly made toys can have rough edges, weak enforcement, and loose threads. While these may be overlooked for older children, these can be extremely dangerous for newborn babies.
Plush toys should be especially well-made, too. When choosing plush toys, check the sews and the seams and make sure they are secure.
3. Choose toys that are bigger than your baby’s mouth.
When looking for toys for your small baby, think big! To minimize the risk of choking, always choose toys that cannot fit inside the mouth of your newborn baby. To help you determine this, imagine a toilet paper roll. The mouth of the cylinder is roughly the same size as the mouth of your baby. Look for a toy that will not fit inside the cylinder.
The government has specific toy regulations, too. Toys for children under age 3 should not be less than 1 ¼ inches in diameter and 2 ¼ inches long.
4. Avoid toys with small parts.
With the previous guideline in mind, you should also be on the lookout for small parts. Even if the toy itself is big, if it has removable parts like buttons and ribbons, you also need to make sure that these parts pass the toilet paper test. If they are smaller than the mouth of a toilet paper roll, then they still present a choking hazard.
5. Opt for lightweight toys.
For a newborn baby, choose lightweight toys. Avoid heavy and hard toys that can seriously harm your baby if it fell on them. In this case, it is best to choose toys made of lightweight material like cotton. For example, opt for a soft rattle over a hard plastic one.
6. Avoid toys with magnets.
Magnets, especially small button magnets, are highly dangerous for newborn babies. Be careful because these magnets are not always visible. In many toys, they are hidden inside. If they fall out and are swallowed by a child, then they can cause serious problems involving the digestive system, which may even lead to death. When buying toys, always check the label to be sure.
7. Stay away from toys with strings or cords.
Strings may look harmless, but they are very dangerous for newborn babies. They can easily get wrapped around a baby’s neck and strangle them. To avoid this, stay away from toys that have strings or cords longer than 12 inches. Don’t forget to remove tags and ribbons before giving them to your baby, too, and be wary of dolls with drawstring clothing.
8. Watch out for toys that contain toxic chemicals.
Finally, watch out for toys that may contain toxic chemicals. Even if they look safe and big enough, the danger may not be immediately apparent to the naked eye. Always check the label and see what your baby’s toys are made of. Stay away from lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and PVC.
These toxic chemicals are common in toys made in countries with lax quality control systems. To be safe, choose toys made by reputable companies who are transparent about the materials they use. It is also best to choose toys made of pure and safe materials like cotton.
It seems daunting to look for safe toys for your newborn baby, but the good news is that there are a lot of options to choose from. Check out our list of 6 safe baby toys for your newborn!