if you’re like me, you did your research and bought your toddler the best toys for his development.They’re toxin-free, fair trade, and age-appropriate. But they lie untouched as your little one gnaws on the remote control unearthed from the couch, ruining all your TIVO settings or erasing you series episodes…
The only thing that can distract him from that task seems to be the lure of the mobile phone or the Xbox remote, but is it safe? Is there any harm if he’s happy being entertained and learning about the world?
Toys come with a warning, ‘Not for use under a certain age,’ but everyday items do not!
Unfortunately, there are potential hazards lurking in some of the household items that toddlers love to play with, so here is a list of things that maybe might be a Toddler thing for me and you as well, but I just need to be sure I am not alone with these “toddlery” situations.
Why Kids Love Them: They’re shiny and toy-size, make a great jangling sound, and are fun to hide and seek in small places like pockets and bags.
Potential Problem: Keys are made of brass or nickel-plated brass, some with added lead. They also tend to be stuck into dirty and greasy areas. Not the ideal things for your child to have in his mouth. Plus, sharp edges aren’t ideal around little eyes.
Play or Take Away? Take away. Replace metal keys with (BPA-free plastic) toy keys.
Why Kids Love Them: All those colorful, soft buttons that show flashing lights when pressed make remote controls satisfying toys, especially when they can turn other things on and off! Oh gosh… The struggle was so harsh, that he has his own replica of the remote control… which he doesn’t want it…he knows the difference of the one that got batteries from his (doesn’t have batteries).
Potential Problem: Unfortunately, remotes are made up of many small parts, and some still use coin-size lithium ion batteries, which could be fatal if ingested. While it’s often difficult for an adult to remove the batteries, children quickly discover that they come out after banging the remote against the floor.
Play or Take Away? Take away. Toy versions are acceptable substitutions… Good luck!
Why Kids Love Them: A box’s contents become forgotten when there’s cardboard for making basic houses and tunnels or when there’s hilarious bubble wrap to pop or packing peanuts to toss around. now imagine when I get a load of boxes to review… He get’s crazy with the boxes… Is he a Toddler or a cat?
Potential Problem: Sure, cardboard boxes usually get a thumbs-up, but what’s inside comes with a big caveat: Use under supervision only, however, bubble wrap and other packing materials could be choking hazards. Plus, paper has been through a lot of hands and places – bacteria alert!
Play or Take Away? Play, but only under your watch, and then remove everything when they’re done.
Pet Toys and Dishes
Why Kids Love Them: We don’t have pets right now (used to, so I know!): Dogs/Cats toys look just like all the others on the rug, and the pets gets to splash around with a water bowl all day long.
Potential Problem: Household pets are fun to play with, but they do carry a lot of bacteria in their mouth and from outside. Chew toys can also come apart in small, hazardous pieces, and there’s the potential for conflicts between the dog and the kid over toys or food, which rarely end well. I was never bitten but we need to remember that animals have instinct. So beware.
Play or Take Away? Take away. If you can’t put the water bowl out of reach, this is a good time to teach your kid the concept of “Don’t touch.” – Good luck also!
Storage Containers of Food
Why Kids Love Them: The pantry is full of popcorn kernels, dried pasta, or grains in plastic canisters and yogurt containers; they double as fantastic noisemakers and shakers.
Potential Problem: Keep in mind that they’re probably going to open. And when it opens (for sure) kids will then try to eat whatever spills out.
Play or Take Away? Play. Just make sure that what’s stored in the canisters won’t cause choking hazards or allergies.
Why Kids Love It: Spoons, spatulas, mixing bowls, pots, and pans are classic toys that also make amusing instruments.
Potential Problem: Experts love encouraging kids to role-play with wooden spoons, silicone spatulas, and plastic bowls, but not all items get the green light. If you let children play with pots and pans, they won’t understand when it’s just a toy on the floor versus when it’s on the stove with a flame under it. Even if you normally keep the hot stuff out of reach, tots may reach for a hot pan at Grandma’s house.
Play or Take Away? Play – with everything but the pots and pans. There’s a time and place to teach about hot stoves, but this is too risky.
Why Kids Love It: Pulling one tissue of its magic box means another one pops right out – again and again, until the box is empty. Plus, they’re soft enough to tear up and eat.
Potential Problem: If a child puts a clean tissue in her mouth and eats it, it’s definitely not harmful. But if you notice your kid is seeking out so-called non nutritive substances to eat on a regular basis (more than your typical mouth exploration), mention it to your pediatrician, as there might be an underlying medical reason for this behavior.
Play or Take Away? Play. Tissues are fine, as long as you don’t mind cleaning up the mess later. but be careful – can choke, so always keep an eye out.
Baby Lotion Tubes and Bottles
Why Kids Love Them: Tubes of diaper creams and bottles of moisturizers are just asking to be shaken, squeezed, sucked on, and opened for an experiment in finger painting.
Potential Problem: Although most baby lotions are completely harmless, playing with them isn’t a good habit to encourage. If the caps are unscrewed, they are a choking risk, and children may feel it is okay to play with other containers that contain more harmful substances, such as prescription medications and household cleaners (that can be ingested).
Play or Take Away? Take away. It’s best not to let kids think that tubes and bottles are toys.
Piles of (Dirty) Laundry
Why Kids Love It: Mini mountains of soft clothes on the bedroom floor are perfect for jumping on, crawling over, burrowing into, hiding under, and tossing around.
Potential Problem: Dirty laundry often has bacteria on it from body fluids, and generally should be avoided. Certainly, we don’t want to be so obsessive about this, because there’s good evidence to show… that in an era of being too clean, kids may be predisposed to allergies because they’re not exposed to allergens and bacteria of that nature. This is a tough one.
Play or Take Away? Your call. You can let your kids play in the laundry if you know there’s nothing scary-dirty in there, and give them a bath later if you’re still concerned about germs.
What would you add in this list?
Let me know in a comment below.