Tips to choose baby toys

Baby toys are various objects, such as rattles and teething rings that encourage a baby to play. When we think of baby toys we generally think of soft plastic or plush toys that babies can touch and hold. They stimulate the senses and burgeoning motor skills, while also helping children learn cause-and-effect relationships. However, mealtimes offer opportunities for learning through activities such as stacking cups or nesting bowls on top of one another. Other developmental benefits include working out how to put things inside each other or clapping with joy at the sound of rattles being shaken.

How do you choose baby toys

A baby sitting on a bed

When choosing baby toys there are three main factors to consider:

1 Safety

A small child is holding a baby

Safety is obviously the first thing to consider when choosing toys for your baby. When buying soft plastic or plush toys, look for strong stitching that will hold up under repeated pressure from a baby’s hands. Consider whether there are any small accessories that could be chewed off and swallowed. Check that batteries have been secured inside the toy by a screw or other means so they don’t easily fall out when the toy is picked up or shaken. If you’re not sure of how secure a battery is, check what kind of battery it is and ask an expert who can advise on safe ways to dispose of it if needed. Finally, think about how noisy a toy makes sound and whether this could be potentially distracting or harmful to a baby’s ears.

2 Age-appropriate features

Age-appropriate features are another important consideration when buying toys for babies and include things like bright colours, contrasting patterns and interesting textures. For example, rattles with small parts that could be chewed off should generally not be put in a baby’s mouth. And the sound of music from a mobile made for a cot is clearly too loud and distracting for a newborn who would do better with a simple wind-up rattle. However, these two examples show there can sometimes be quite an age gap between what babies need at certain stages of development so if in doubt it is always best to seek advice from someone who knows your child well. For example, many health visitors carry out home visits to new parents during the early months of a child’s life. They are experts in knowing which toys would be most suitable for your baby at certain stages of development.

3 Durability

Durability is also an important factor when choosing toys for babies, particularly if buying on a budget. Durable soft plastic or plush toys can often be washed and will last well into toddlerhood. A good general guide is to look for toys that have an average rating of at least four out of five stars by other customers who have bought them online. If you are buying second hand, inspect the toy carefully before making your purchase for any cracks or missing parts so you can’t return it later with concerns about its safety or durability.

Babies love towards rattles

Babies love rattles because the sound they make creates an instant response from a baby. The noise is particularly appealing to babies who are learning about cause-and-effect relationships as the sound of the rattle shaking starts many interesting conversations between parent and child. Many parents will even use hand movements with their voice, which encourages children to mimic them making new sounds over and over again. This kind of play helps build brain connections that can lead to important language skills like talking or waving bye-bye when your baby grows up. For this reason, it is good for parents to encourage lots of playful communication with their baby; experts recommend you play together in ‘active ways’ for at least 15 minutes every day.

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