The last thing parents want to worry about when sending their child to daycare is whether or not the toys they have are potentially harmful.
But too many daycares across the country are letting toys that look fun and harmless into their centers—putting their children at risk of injury or even death.
There are around 240,000 toy-related injuries that are recorded in emergency rooms every year—and all of them are preventable with a little caution.
If you’re a daycare owner (or concerned parent who wants to go the extra mile before signing up for a daycare provider) you’ll want to do your due diligence and make sure the center’s toy bin is free of dangerous toys.
Depending on your type of daycare center, the services you provide, and the age range of children you take care of, there will be different types of safe toys you’ll always want to have available.
Here are a few things you can do to properly vet toys so they don’t become dangerous to your kiddos:
- Regularly check your toys for loose parts, broken pieces, or sharp edges. If it’s not in good condition, you should repair it or throw it away. If it’s a serious defect, report the hazard to the toy’s manufacturer and the CPSC so it can get recalled before someone gets hurt.
- Read the toy’s warnings on the box or label before giving them to children. The toy’s recommended age range guidelines should always be followed—even if a younger child seems like they can properly use it.
- If your daycare takes care of infants and toddlers, make sure to avoid cheap metal, painted jewelry, and other potentially hazardous items that could contain lead. Babies love putting random things in their mouths, and even trace amounts of lead and metals could be life-threatening.
1. Fidget Spinners
These toys aren’t just an annoyance to teachers everywhere; they can be extremely harmful if younger children get ahold of them.
Most fidget spinners are made up of many small parts, and both branded and knock-off models can easily be broken and become choking hazards to young children.
Daycares that take care of infants and toddlers should steer clear of having any type of fidget spinner available. And, if you’re a child care provider that takes care of older children, make sure any fidget spinner you have is always in good condition.
Magnets have always been a fun toy for children of all ages to play with—they stick together like magic! But toys with magnetic parts can cause serious and potentially life-threatening injuries if ingested.
If a baby accidentally swallows a magnetic toy, it can cause gastrointestinal damage, infection, and pinching of internal organs.
A major recall of magnetic toys happened in 2006 after a child died from accidental ingestion, but they’re still everywhere on the market today.
Even though magnets are a very popular toy, daycares should be cautious about having any type of magnet in their center.
If your center takes care of older children, you’ll want to have some more advanced toys than teddy bears and Barbies. Electronic toys like hoverboards are all the rage right now, but they’re far from being safe.
Hoverboards have been recalled multiple times due to fire hazards and spontaneous combustion while charging.
And, of course, hoverboards also pose a serious fall and crash risk—it’s better to just skip this toy altogether.
These are a summer favorite for families everywhere—but they should never have a home in daycare centers.
Like every toy, they seem harmless at first but if kids are playing in them without proper supervision they can quickly become a strangulation hazard.
In 1996, the CPSC recalled 3 million hammocks after they accidentally twisted around children’s necks and caused the deaths of 12 children. Parents can more easily supervise their children to keep them safe in hammocks, so keep them far away from your daycare.