A: When shopping for playthings for babies under the age of 1, keep these five tips in mind.
1| Follow age recommendations. Most toy packaging provides a suggested age range for the person playing with the toy. Much research goes into creating these guidelines, and they take into consideration the size of the various pieces and parts. Even if your child may seem advanced, stick to the age recommendation to ensure a safe playtime.
2| Snuggly and soft wins. Children under age 1 enjoy toys that are cuddly and huggable. Look for playthings without detachable eyes, noses or other decorations that can be chewed or pulled off and become a choking hazard.
3| Make some noise. To keep your little one’s interest, choose rattles, squeezable toys or other sound-makers that will spark her creativity and motor functions. When choosing these types of toys, ensure there are no small parts that can go from hands to mouth.
4| Bigger is better. A good rule of thumb is that toys should be bigger than your little one’s mouth to prevent choking possibilities. An easy test is to use a paper towel roll: If the toy can fit in the roll, it is too small for your child to play safely.
5| There’s an app for that. Recalls happen so frequently, it can be hard for parents and guardians to keep up. Thankfully, the government has both a website and an app you can download on your smartphone to keep track.
—Jennifer Bonham of NurseWise, a telehealth provider to more than 3 million children each year
For more information on toy safety, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission.