What to Check for When Buying Soft Toys
As soon as most of us are born we seem to be presented with our very first soft toy, and it’s traditional for most children to be bought teddies and cuddly toys as they grow, too. Some people still collect them as adults!
Cuddly toys can come in all shapes and sizes – tiny to gigantic and some can even be many times the size of a baby.
What Types of Soft Toys are There?
Today children’s toys and soft toys come in just about any variation that you can think of - good old traditional teddy bears, developmental infant toys and even electronic singing, interactive animals.
Why Do Children Love Soft Toys?
Children seem to get some comfort from familiar things and from any soft toys that mean something to them. Some babies and children love their comforters while others seem to get attached to a particular object or soft toy and refuse to leave the house without it!
A baby on holiday for the first time might reach for a favourite, familiar soft toy to make him feel more secure, or an older child might seek comfort in a familiar and well loved soft toy when she starts nursery, or even school.
Toy Checks - What do Toy Safety Marks Mean?
- The CE Mark – although it’s not a consumer mark, the CE logo on soft toys does prove that the toy has been tested for compliance with toy safety standards.
- The Lion Mark – this is only displayed by a member of the British Toy and Hobby Association BTHA who has agreed to stick to the BTHA Code of Practice. This mark should indicate that the soft toys are safe and are good quality.
- Not Suitable for Children under 36 months - This logo means that a children’s toy isn’t suitable for any child under three years old. You’ll find it on soft toys which have small parts that younger children could pull off and swallow.
Choosing and Buying a Soft Toy– Toy Checks Hints and Tips
- >Toy safety is vital when choosing children’s toys. When you’re choosing and buying a soft toy, look out for the following: Check that the toy safety label says that it’s suitable for your child’s age. If the toy safety label says that it’s not suitable for under threes, don’t ignore this and give it to a younger child, as it could be dangerous – the soft toy won’t have passed toy checks for choking hazards.
- Make sure that the soft toy you’ve chosen is not too fluffy if your child is small, and that its eyes are not made from buttons.
- Check the quality of the children's toys – a Lion Mark will indicate that the soft toy is not just safe but conforms to a certain level of quality expected of all toys carrying this mark.
- Make sure there are no strings or ribbons that could accidentally harm a small child or baby.
- Check to see that it has a safety mark – a CE Mark, Lion Mark or preferably both. If the toy doesn't pass the toy safety label test; don’t risk it, as there will be plenty that do.
Also...If you’re buying a soft toy for a baby, remember that very young babies and children love to play with children's toys that help them learn about their world - so when you’re deciding which soft toy to buy, also think about what developmental opportunities it has. Will it be something that comforts at bedtime and goes everywhere with the child...or something that will make them explore and enjoy the soft toy?