More and more baby toys these days are electronic or have electronic components. While these toys may be exciting, sadly, electronic toys can pose risks to your child.
The risks associated with electronic toys include:
- Burns: Electronic toys may overheat because of faulty wiring or circuit boards. This can burn your child.
- Electric shock: Faulty electrical wiring or plugs can be very dangerous, and can cause electric shock. Electric shock is also a risk when an electronic toy is used near water. As we know, babies and toddlers can be messy, so make sure to keep liquids away from electronic toys.
- Fire hazards: Overheating of electronic toys, especially poorly built toys, can cause fires.
- Battery hazards: Batteries in toys can pose risks such as overheating and breaking down into small pieces that cause choking. Choking risks are especially high for babies, who are more likely to chew on toys.
- Toxic materials: Some electronic toys contain dangerous substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). These materials are generally only used inside the toy, so don’t worry – your baby is unlikely to come into contact with them. Of course, it’s still best to buy toys without these substances!
Electronic toys are also environmentally unfriendly, as they are notoriously difficult to recycle. Additionally, research suggests that relying only on electronic toys, rather than more traditional toys, can harm a baby’s language development.
Here are some tips for choosing safe and stimulating toys for your baby.
The simplest way to avoid the dangers of electronic toys is simply not to buy them! All our Kleynimals toys are non-electronic and made from safe and nontoxic stainless steel. Our toys provide your baby with all the excitement and stimulation they need without the risks posed by electronic toys.
If you do choose to use electronic toys, it is best to mix these in with more traditional toys. Exposure to different types of toys, including simpler toys, helps your baby develop a wide variety of skills.
Safety must be included in every step of a toy’s production. If you do choose to buy electronic toys, make sure it is from a trusted manufacturer that takes the necessary steps, such as testing for toxic materials, to ensure the toy is safe and functioning properly.
There are several regulations in place that work to protect you from the dangers of electronic toys. It is important to check that your baby’s toys have been tested for compliance with these consumer protection laws. For example, electronic toys stamped with a “CE marking” (a small CE symbol printed on the toy or packaging) comply with all safety regulations and do not contain harmful materials.
Make sure your electronic baby toys are well-built and sturdy. Durable toys are less likely to break down, exposing you or your child to any harmful substances that may be used to create the inner electronic parts. Toys that break down are especially concerning for babies, as babies are likely to chew on their toys as part of the teething process.
Durable electronic toys are also less likely to experience overheating or other problems due to degradation.
Electronic toys may have parts that are designed to be used in a specific way (for example, that spin in a certain direction). But we know that babies and children may not use the toy in the way it was designed! This improper use can cause potentially dangerous malfunctions.
If you do choose electronic toys, always watch your child when they are playing with the toy to make sure it is being used as it was intended. While most toy manufacturers put control measures in place that will avoid malfunctions no matter the situation, it is still best to use the toy as it was designed.
All in all, the risks of electronic toys can be safely managed by an attentive guardian. Of course, the most worry-free option is to simply buy non-electronic toys! If you do choose to use electronic baby toys, however, make sure you buy well-made toys of a wide variety to support your child’s development happily and safely.