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Babies are inquisitive. Everything in the world is new to them and provokes a sense of wonder, including things that are unknowingly dangerous for them.

For little ones, safety is the number one priority. Even the most innocent of household items can pose a risk, so how do you know what’s safe for little hands and what isn’t?

Choosing Safe Toys

New toys are exciting, and while most toys are perfectly safe, sadly toy-related injuries are a common occurrence. When shopping for toys, here are some things to keep in mind.

First, let’s state the obvious. Don’t buy a toy with a label stating it is “not suitable for children under three”. This is a safety warning, as the toy (or any detachable parts) may pose a choking hazard.

Look for choking hazards. The biggest toy-related dangers are choking and suffocation. As a guide, if a toy (or any detachable parts) can fit into an empty toilet roll, don’t give it to them. This includes beads and buttons that can easily be pulled off.

Look for sharp edges and holes. Inspect the toy and make sure there are no sharp edges, points or rough surfaces. Check that there are no gaps or holes that your child could get their finger stuck in.

Watch out for traps. Toy chests and boxes should be designed not to trap children. It’s best if they have a lightweight lid or no lid at all, and if the child is big enough to crawl inside, the box must have ventilation holes.

Look for non-toxic art products. Painting is fun, but so is putting things in your mouth (at least to a toddler, anyway). Make sure art products are nontoxic, just in case your child decides to see what the green paint tastes like.

Make sure batteries are inaccessible. Most toys that move around or make noise operate on batteries. Batteries are very dangerous for children and can cause death or severe irreversible internal damage. Ensure batteries are not accessible (eg secured with a very tight screw and checked regularly).

Babyproofing Checklist

Once your baby can crawl, they no longer need to rely on you to move around. The world is their playground; and it’s important to ensure the home is babyproofed before they reach this stage.

Electronics – Hide any electrical cords, put safety covers over powerpoints and put away any electronics not in use (such as irons and hair straighteners).

Stairs – If your home has stairs, place baby gates at the top and bottom and keep them closed.

Harmful substances and tools – Make sure harmful substances such as bleach, cleaning products and medicine are out of reach. Do the same with knives and DIY tools.

Furniture – Cover all sharp furniture edges and corners with bumpers, lock any drawers or cupboards within reach and move tall, wobbly lamps behind furniture.

Backyard – Check the lawn is free of prickly plants (such as sensitive weed) and there are no poisonous plants in the garden.

Blinds– Ensure all chords from blinds and curtains are secured or removed to avoid strangulation.

Helpful Resources

www.productsafety.gov.au  

www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au