Summer Carnivals & Toy Safety

Toy safety is a topic commonly associated with Christmas - after all that's the time most of us are buying things for our little (and not so little) people. However, summer is also a time to think about toy safety, with summer carnivals, fairs & fates there are a few things you need to know…

Going to a carnival this summer? Then it is worth knowing something about the toys you win. They may not be safe. Sure Pooh Bear looks great and the kids love him, but if he wasn't sold to you (ie: you won him) then he doesn't have to meet toy safety standards. So, how can you tell which toys are safe for your kids?

Read the Toy's Labels (doh!) - They are there for a reason. Age limits may be a good guide, but take your own child's abilities into consideration as well. 'Safe' doesn't have to mean 'dull'. And if you aren't sure about some of the interesting code & symbols on these things, then investigate before your kid figures out the funny squiggle was supposed to mean 'Choking Hazard'.

Now don't tell your kids I said this, but…. Beat up Pooh Bear! What, you thought your kids were going to wrap him in cotton wool and hide him away for ever? If they're anything like my kids, any loose bits would quickly be removed before the bear gets used as a trampoline. Find toys that are strong and well-built and if your kids are really young, consider how chew-proof the toys are. Oh, and if they're likely to be chewing them…

Get non-toxic products. Again, check the labels - if it clearly says non-toxic then great, if not you may need to look more closely. If it say's 'lead paint' then back away quickly. Give some thought to where your local summer fair may source its prizes! (And where they are stored - do they need a quick wash?)

Try not to strangle the kids. Long pull-cords and small children is a recipe for trouble. Ideally any pull cord should be less that a foot (30 cm) in length while they're young. You can always take the scissors to anything of concern!

Away from fair prizes, remember these tips too:

Kids & power sources don't mix - until their age hits double digits, keep a very close eye on anything that needs plugging in. That's not to say they can't play with that racing-car game, but it needs supervision. Also give consideration to small batteries - they cause a lot of damage to young children.

Double-check the double-used toys. OK, so your boss just doesn't allow you to afford toys from Expensive-R-us and you're kids often get previously loved goods - no problem with that, they're a great deal! As long as you double-check them. They could be missing labels, bits that weren't loose could be wobbling now, and if you're getting stuffies, make sure they can be washed. If you're not sure about these toys, then let them spend a night in the freezer and a short time in the boil-wash, this will send most bugs off to bug-heaven and ensure your kids safety

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