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How to Choose Toys for Your Baby

Safety, of course, should be your number one concern when buying toys for your baby. But there are other considerations to keep in mind.


  • : Toy recalls are on the rise. To find out about specific toys, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at
  • Step 1: Visit toy stores. Even if you plan to use mail order or buy online, it’s a good idea to check out a toy in person.
  • TIP: The best toys for kids 18 months and under include mobiles, soft books, rattles and other noisemakers, busy boxes, activity tables, stacking toys, and push- and pull-toys.
  • Step 2: As you browse, ask yourself two questions about any toy that catches your eye—does it look like something my baby will enjoy, and is it safe?
  • Step 3: Consider size and weight. Your baby will have the most fun with a toy that he can get a grip on, one that’s not too heavy or large for him to manipulate.
  • Step 4: Look for a toy that offers different textures, especially for very young babies.
  • Step 5: Choose toys that your baby can interact with. He should be a participant in making it jingle or roll—not a passive observer.
  • TIP: Basic or old-fashioned toys like blocks or stacking cups can be very educational, whether or not they’re labeled as such.
  • Step 6: Pick toys in bright, cheery hues. Even infants love different colors.
  • Step 7: Do a safety check. Don’t buy any toy that your baby could choke on, that has small pieces that could break off, or that has a string or cord that’s shorter than six inches.
  • TIP: If a toy is small enough to fit inside an empty toilet paper roll, it’s small enough to choke a baby.
  • Step 8: Finally, rate its annoyance factor. Who cares what the baby likes—is the sound the toy makes going to drive you nuts?
  • FACT: Dolls are the oldest known toys.

You Will Need

  • Time to shop
  • Common sense

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