Learning toys for children are made all over the world, so when purchasing we should check that they are safe for our children. Thankfully most learning toys for children regardless of where they are made are intended to be sold in the biggest markets of either America or the European Union so they must comply with those safety standards. In Europe there is one main standard for toys which you should look for on the product or packaging. This is European Unions Toy Safety Standard EN71; also look for the CE mark. In America there is the American Society for Testing and Materials (‘ASTM’) who have a number of standards which are connected with learning toys for children. In these cases you should see something like “Conforms to ASTM-xxx”. The number 963 is the general ASTM toy standard. Please also look for general information from the manufacturer.
Toys made of fabrics e.g. stuffed toys, must be labeled as either “flame resistant” or “flame retardant”. The fabric used should also be washable as fabrics easily get and hold-on to dirt, mud, sticky candies, and more from the child’s hands or being dropped outside, etc. Fabrics should be marked somewhere on them as being “made from washable and hygienic materials” or similar.
Care must also be taken with learning toys for children which are made of wood and which are painted or vanished to improve their durability and appearance. Paints may have lead or other highly dangerous chemicals in them. Whilst varnishes must be those which are water-based and do not contain any harmful solvents. These toys must therefore be marked as “non-toxic” or comply with the relevant safety standard. In America its best to look for ASTM-D42326 which indicates that it’s non-toxic, but this hasn’t been determined by testing on animals. If you’ve got an old wooden toy and wish to give it to a younger member of your family please remember to only use safe non-toxic to make it look better or newer.
Learning toys for children such as art materials like crayons, colored pencils and paints are also items you should be careful when buying. As we all know, these are some of the most popular toys that children put in their mouths. In America once again look specifically that it “conforms to ASTM-D42326” as the best guarantee. If it doesn’t state this then it must definitely state “non-toxic”.
In general, most learning toys for children currently available in the market place can be considered as safe for your child.