We’ve all known how stuffed animals bring joy and happiness to kids and adults alike. Some are even considered collectibles with vintage pieces and limited editions raking up bids at auctions around the world. But even these seemingly harmful cuddly wonders aren’t all safe. There are dangers to them too. Take a look at the following hazards to watch out for.
1. The Age Hazard
What’s good for some may not be good for others. This applies beyond mere preferences and likes. Think about it this way. A toy for a ten year old may not exactly be safe for a two year old. Stuffed animals come in all shapes, sizes and designs. Some would even have mechanical parts that move or produce sound. This considered, see to it that kids play with toys appropriate for their age.
2. The Size Hazard
This one in particular is a very common mistake. Do remember that kids and toddlers aren’t as physically able as adults. They can’t lift or carry objects that are bigger and heavier than them, stuffed toys included, thus creating risks of suffocation if they fall flat on top of them. The rule of thumb is that for children aged three and below, the toy’s dimension should be smaller than their height and lighter than their weight.
3. The Choking Hazard
Be on guard against toys that can send kids straight to the hospital’s emergency room. They must not have any detachable parts that can be easily swallowed and cause an accident. For instance, buttons, eyes and similar accessories should not be easily removed or torn away. As for ribbons, they must not be any longer than six inches.
4. The Sanitary Hazard
Play time should both be fun and safe. Apart from avoiding accidents, we should also avoid threats to health. Make it a point to check the label to make sure it’s made of toxic free materials. At the same time, keep them clean and sanitary at al times.
5. The Mediocre Hazard
Stuffed toys need to be of great quality. In other words they need not only be safe as per the materials used and their dimensions but they too must be well-crafted. Because stuffed animals are still toys to begin with, they will be played with and handled not so carefully especially by children. The toy should be durable enough. The limbs and hem should not tear at a mere pull.
Stuffed animals are every kid and kid-at-heart’s embodiment of a “cuddly wonder”, apart from pets that is. Because we all adore them, we tend to bring them around and have them for playtime round the clock. The thing is, all that is going to take its toll on the toy. They’ll get dirty and grimy eventually. It’s not the end of the world though because there are ways to reverse that. How so? Read on and find out.
Get your trusty wash cloth out of the bag.
Mild dirt can easily be removed with the help of a damp cloth. Take out some mild soap and water and use a clean cloth to rub off the grime from the toy. Make sure that you wring the cloth well to remove excess water. You want it damp and not dripping wet. Avoid a sponge at all costs too because it’ll drench the toy more than you’d want it to. This can also be done as a means to remove any stain prior to washing so that it doesn’t sit long and worsen.
Take them out for a well deserved bath.
Go rub-a-dub-dub with your stuffed animals! If they’re roundabout dirty and they need to get a full on cleaning then washing is the task you’re going to have to face. You have two options here. You can either do it by hand or by machine. In both cases, you’ll need lukewarm water and mild soap. No bleaching detergents or agents are allowed at all costs. Nor is heat as it can dull the colors and melt some parts (e.g. buttons, adhesives, and etcetera)
If you choose to wash by hand, you’re going to need a sponge this time or a soft bristled brush to rub away the grime and filth. As for a washing machine, you’ll need to place the stuffed toy inside a pillow case or mesh bag first to protect them and also to avoid any of their accessories from falling off into the washer and damaging its motor. Rinse well and dry without the heat of a blower, a dryer or the sun.
Get your fridge involved.
Yes, you’ve read that right. Your stuffed animals have a lot to thank your refrigerator, the freezer in particular. Should you find a bug infestation, you’ll have to un-stuff the toy, wash and res-tuff it. But before doing so, you’ll need to seal it inside a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 2 days straight to kill the bugs and their eggs.
Stuffed animals are perhaps the most popular toy among children then and now. They are cute, adorable and even provide emotional, mental and physical development and benefits. They are in a way a marriage of fun and function. This is also the most obvious reason as to why parents, relatives, friends and pretty much everyone prefers them as the best gift option.
Now, buying stuffed animals for kids isn’t exactly as chill as it seems. A lot of thought and careful consideration must be had to make sure that the item picked are the best for the recipient. To help everyone with such task, we came up with the following set of reminders. Take a look.
Beware of the choking hazards. Kids are known to put almost everything inside their mouths. Why? Babies first learn the sense of taste all thanks to the milk they drink from their mothers and so they tend to get acquainted with things using taste up until they learn better. Knowing that they like to put things inside their mouths, it is of massive importance to pick items that are safe. They must not contain toxic chemicals than will do the child wrong should they lick the toy. Also, it has to be huge enough that it won’t fit in their mouths.
Do away with blunt parts. Some toys come with accessories. Make sure that all of it is free from sharp edges, spikes and similar parts that may cut or puncture the child. Accidents are best avoided rather than fixed.
Always make it age appropriate. Not all stuffed animals are suited for all age groups. A combination of various factors like size, material, features and the like will spell whether or not a particular toy is suitable for a certain age group. Besides, you can’t expect a one year old to enjoy something that a ten year old would and vice versa.
Read the label. Apart from the cleaning instructions, do check if there are toxic materials used on the toy. Paint for example must be lead free. Also, it would be best to do your research too. Have there been any recalls on the product? How about the reviews? What are other consumers saying about it?
Consider longevity and durability. Kids are not the most cautious of beings so it is highly necessary to opt for stuffed animals that are extremely durable, are easy to clean and will stand the test of time and play.