When you have a new baby, expect to receive many new stuffed toys. While most will be fine, you need to make sure each one is suited for your baby. Unfortunately, even small babies can be injured or worse because of a loose eye, ribbons around the stuffed animal’s neck, and so on. While your friends and family have the best of intentions, remember that not all stuffed toys are safe, especially for babies.
One of the most common types of stuffed toy is the teddy bear. In fact, this stuffed animal first appeared in 1903 and today, remains the number one seller. Named after the late President, Theodore Roosevelt, the teddy bear is soft, cute, and cuddly. Babies, older children, and parents alike agree that the teddy bear provides a sense of security and reassurance.
Another important aspect of any stuffed toy, whether teddy bear, rattle, duck, or what have you, is choosing what is age appropriate. Typically, the toy will have a label attached that indicates the intended age. Therefore, if you are given a stuffed animal for your three-month old baby but the tag clearly reads “recommended for children three years and up”, pay heed. Manufacturers are aware of potential dangers and they follow very strict guidelines so the label is one of the most important parts of buying a baby toy.
For small babies, you want to avoid any type of stuffed toy that has small parts such as eyes, nose, attached miniature items, etc. We recommend a baby from birth to six months of age be given stuffed toys for visualization. After all, a little baby cannot grasp or hold. In this case, a colorful mobile made from miniature stuffed bears or birds would be perfect. What you want to avoid is placing any type of toy, especially a stuffed toy in the crib. The baby could roll or move, ending up with the toy in his/her face, cutting off oxygen.
Now, for older babies, those from six months to one year, interaction toys are excellent. Something like a stuffed dog that has a protected device on the inside to make barking sounds would soon become a favorite toy. A blanket with several small stuffed animals attached is also a nice gift. As the baby plays on the blanket, the animals stay put while still allowing the child to investigate different shapes, textures, and colors.