They are sometimes traditional, sometimes funky, and always soft, cute and cuddly – but are all soft toys suitable for babies? In today’s post I take a look at what to consider and avoid when buying soft toys for babies.
What are soft toys for babies?
To clarify, when I refer to soft toys for babies (both in this post, and elsewhere on Barneys Toy Box, I am referring to soft plush toys (toys made of fabric with a type of filling) that is intended for a baby, toddler or infant under the age of 3 years. I use this age as this is the age used by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) when determining product safety guidelines and laws.
The law with respect to soft toys for babies
The ACCC has outlined a mandatory (legally binding) standard that governs how toys intended for children up to the age of 3 are manufactured, designed, labelled and marketed. Soft toys are included within this mandatory standard (Toys for children up to and including 36 months of age, ACCC, 1993).
It is very important to note that this standard applies to all soft toys that may be considered as being intended or marketed towards children under 3 years of age (even if they are designed for older children).
You can access information about the mandatory standard via the ACCC product safety website at:
What to look for and avoid when buying soft toys for babies
So what do you need to look for when buying soft toys for babies under the age of 36 months?
Inspect the item before you buy – the quality of the manufacturing is vital. Make sure seams and stitching is intact and the item is in good general condition.
Avoid small items that may fall off (or be chewed off) – by small, I mean anything that will fit inside the mouth of a 3 year old baby. Things like buttons, clothing accessories (e.g. shoes) that are glued or sewn on may come lose and have proven to be a deadly choking hazard.
If the toy has a rattle, make sure the rattle is securing fastened and located within the fabric (so baby cannot see, pull, or chew it).
Ensure that the toy does not have hard glass or plastic eyes or nose – embroidered or fabric eyes and noses are much better for babies.
Consider the filling – The filling should be clean and not sharp. Avoid bean bag style toys that contain Polystyrene beads as these present a very real choking hazard if ingested. Likewise, foam toys are not recommended for young children.
Avoid anything sharp or pointy, including wires that may lead to cuts, scratches or pokes in the eye.
Avoid strings, ribbons, cords, ropes etc. over the length of 10cm. These may present a hanging/choking hazard if they wrap around baby’s throat
Avoid toys with magnets and avoid toys that have batteries. These present both a chocking and toxic hazard if ingested. Any young child toy that has batteries should have a battery case that can only be open using a screw driver.
Make sure that any soft toy for babies is made from non-toxic, non-allergenic material.
Give preference to toys that are washable (even if just hand washable) – toys are going to get yucky (that’s the technical term) and being able to clean the toy will keep both happy and safe.
After your purchase soft toys for babies
Remember, after you purchase or receive as a gift any soft toys for babies, you need to take regular action to make sure baby remains safe when playing with their toy. The following are some practical actions that you can take:
Looking to buy soft toys babies?
We have a dedicated section to make buying soft toys for babies easy. Click here to check it out.
Is there anything you look for in particular when looking for soft toys for babies? Join the conversation below.