Before I had my first child, I thought selecting a toy was all about how fun and interesting it is. I then learnt that babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths. It is natural as it is a key development stage in very young babies. Oral exploration through putting toys and household objects in their mouth allows babies to discover the taste and texture of different objects. This made me question the toxicity of the objects my first born Delia was mouthing (which is one of the reasons why my business journey began). I wanted to provide Delia with toys that were non-toxic and I struggled to find this labelled on many toys available in the market. Apart from toxicity, it is super important for toys to be safe and be age appropriate (i.e. not a choking hazard and brownie points for aiding developmental growth). In this blog post I'll highlight these areas in detail. This is a bit of a boring topic and it is technical but I encourage you to read on and be informed of toy safety and it really is so important - young children have been injured or died from age inappropriate toys or poorly made toys.
In Australia, the Toy Safety standards for children up to and including 36 months is the AS/NZS ISO 8124. When you see AS/NZS ISO 8124.3 - that relates to the chemical composition of toys and this is what you want to see the toy tested and certified for when looking for a non-toxic toy. For example, at Lluie, we ensure that our raw materials have been tested and certified to this component of the toy standard so we can ensure our final product is non-toxic in nature.
Choking Hazards and Toy Safety
There has been incidents of children choking on small toys/small toy parts. Either not age appropriate (too small to be given to a young child) or toys that were not made properly and came apart whilst in use. There are many handmade businesses around and while some take safety seriously some don't (or bring in cheap poorly made imports).
What you would want to ensure when buying toys are either that they are of a solid shape (not made of various small parts) or in the case of toys consisting of small parts put togethers (like our toys), then they have to be made to comply with the mandatory standards. At Lluie, while product testing and certification by an accredited lab is not mandatory, we send each and every design to be tested and certified to the AS/NZS ISO 8124.1 - the physical and mechanical component. This is to ensure our design AND construction of each design available has been tested and certified - in other words foolproof and will NEVER come apart, essentially making them as good as a solid shape teether.
What is the right size of toy for children under 36 months of age?
This is a useful DIY Choke Test tool from ACCC to help you identify toys and other objects that can pose choking or ingestion hazards to young children
Disclaimer: This is for home use only as directed by the ACCC and is NOT the tool we use in the construction of our toys - we use a more stringent guideline than this and there are more aspects (so businesses seeing this blog post please purchase the mandatory standards instead if you're wanting to create your own toys).
Material & Durability
Silicone makes such a good choice as a teething toy as they are not only the perfect firmness/squishyness (see previous blog post on this here) they are resistant to stain, resistant to bacteria, safe in appliance (freezer + dishwasher), waterproof and extremely durable.
Toys made from beechwood are also highly durable as beechwood is hardwearing (non-splintering and withstands impact). It is also naturally anti-bacterial and hence and last for years on - just like our wooden chopping boards!
So for the teething stage that lasts on an average for about 2 years? Teething toys made from silicone/ and or beechwood will definitely be the perfect choice and we encourage the reuse of such toys from second sibling onward too (very environmentally friendly too)!
I deliberately left this topic to the last as safety and toxicity is always first and foremost in the consideration.
In the baby toy market today, there are many beautiful stylish designs available to suit our modern lifestyle. We definitely would love toys that complement the interior of modern homes and enhance living spaces - so we don't have to put away garish looking toys for visitors nor do we have to put up with the awful cheap sounds of battery operated toys.
This is one of the core principles behind our designs - to create non-battery operated toys that provide the opportunity for little ones to engage in open ended play and explore developmental milestone through sensory play and the development of gross motor skills whilst providing beautiful aesthetics to complement the modern lifestyle. See our stylish teethers, play gym toys and pram toys.