It is the general consensus of baby experts that babies should be given toys to play with. The first reason for this is that for them, playtime is also learning time and the tasks that infants need to learn are best learned by playing with toys for child safety.
Toys are necessary for learning muscular and skeletal control
During infancy, much of the growth is focused on the muscles and the bones. That is why the rate of growth during those years is much faster than at a later age. It is necessary that babies have all the nutrients that their muscles and bones will need to develop normally. But it is equally as important that they have the means and the tools to train those muscles and bones to perform tasks such as keeping their balance and handling objects. At their age, babies do not yet have the mental abilities to device practice exercises for themselves. To compensate for that, they have been given an intense curiosity about everything they see around them. Babies will want to touch, feel and handle objects. That is part of getting accustomed to the environment as well as getting to know how to cope with the environment.
The safety factor in toy shape
Obviously, the toys that we give to infants should be without surfaces that can physically harm the infant. The two main things to avoid in toys are pointed shapes and sharp edges on the toys themselves. The overall contour of the toy should not be elongated either. The best ones to get will be rounded. Balls and rounded hoops are perfectly safe for the baby to handle and play with. For the first year and a half, do not give the baby box-type toys, particularly if the corners of the box are pointed.
Safety considerations about coloring substances
The substances with which toys were colored can also make them harmful. First of all, infants often put their toys into their mouths in an effort to bite and eat them. If the coloring substance contains harmful chemicals, the baby will become ill. Secondly, some paints are inflammable. Not that anyone should be leaving lit candles in baby’s bedroom but accidents do happen. And you wouldn’t want to increase the chance of an accident harming the baby. Therefore, carefully inquire about what type of coloring substance was used for your baby’s toy. The substance needs to be water rather than oil-based. It is the oil-based dyes that are fire hazards and many oil-based dyes contain chemicals that are also toxic when inhaled or ingested. So get toys that have been colored with water-based paints, like latex or milk paint.
Latex paints use latex (a type of plant sap) as the binder for their pigment. The binder is the ingredient that holds the pigment fast to the painted surface. It is therefore, strictly organic (unless of course the pigment used is not). Being organic, it does not contain actively harmful ingredients.
Milk paints are even safer than latex for use on babies’ toys. This type of dye has been used for hundreds of years and has begun to enjoy increasing popularity today. Specifically you expect to find milk protein, clay, lime and organic pigments in milk protein. As always, you should be sure the baby is not allergic to either latex or milk.