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The building blocks – too sharp-edged? The rattle with the colorful beads – too fragile? The colors of the stuffed teddy bear and the teething rings – perhaps toxic? Children play for almost 15,000 hours until they are six years old. But time and again, parents are unsure about the right toys for their offspring.
That’s why we’ve put together some important tips to help you distinguish between good and bad toys for your children.
Every Friday, the European Commission publishes a list of dangerous products notified by member states (RAPEX notifications). This weekly summary contains all the information about the product, the potential hazard, and the action taken by the reporting country.
Rely On Your Senses
But the experts from the consumer center also advise: “Rely on your senses”.
If toys smell chemical or if residues remain after touching them, the advice is always: Hands off.
Another good indicator for safe toys is in any case test marks. Many companies regularly have their products scrutinized by independent institutes and, once they have passed the tests, they are awarded the TÜV and/or GS seal (tested safety) as well as the LGA quality mark or the Oeko-Tex 100. And this indicates: Such products partly exceed the European toy guidelines. According to the consumer advice center, the CE mark ranks at the lower end of the reliability scale – it merely means that the manufacturer assumes responsibility for ensuring that the product complies with local legal requirements. However, anything that does not even have this mark should be left on the shelf.
Also pay attention to age recommendations, which not only indicate when a toy is appropriate but also provide information about the dangers: After all, small parts can be swallowed quickly.
The Right Toy For Your Child
Babies put everything in their mouths and use this “tool” to feel their world. So toys should not be too small and should be made of natural materials. They also pay attention to clear colors and shapes.
Only slowly does the urge to explore develop from looking to grasping to crawling and standing. The best stimuli for the senses are provided by mobiles, grasping rings, rattling toys, soft fabric toys, and first push toys – a stroller can also do no harm when the offspring takes its first steps.
Toddlers experience their world through imitation. They like to collect and sort and are happy about anything they can pull or push behind them. Water toys for the tub, simple building blocks, plug-in games, a ball and striking or sound toys, soft stuffed animals, tear-proof picture books, or a music box are the recommendations here. Great toys also offer the everyday environment in the home: pots, pans, spoons.
The best thing, of course, is when parents find the time to try out the toys together with their little ones, here the least can happen and the offspring has the most fun!