There’s no doubt that there’s something special about buying handmade or handcrafted items for adults. However, when it comes to buying handmade toys for children, there are some safety issues to take into consideration.
Handmade toys are often sold at markets, craft fairs, Christmas fairs, online and at other fundraising events. Items are lovingly crafted by artisans and craftspeople and it can often seem like a more personal or worthwhile present to buy than a mass-produced item from a big chain high street store.
Although there certainly is something special and unique about buying handcrafted items, where children’s toys are concerned, care needs to be taken. Mass produced toys are subject to safety requirements and have to meet basic safety standards and, although handmade toy makers should be following these standards too, there may not always be same degree of protection involved with handmade items from tiny companies and one-man bands.
This isn’t to say that all handmade toys will inevitably be a danger or pose a hazard to children – many are absolutely fine and have been produced with care to a high quality – but you can’t guarantee that all children’s toys will be okay. When children’s safety is at stake, this is an important issue to bear in mind if you’re buying handmade toys.
What To Look For When Buying Handmade Toys
If you come across handmade toys for sale that you’re interested in buying for children, then try to find out a bit more about them and do you own safety check first. For example, where possible, you could ask the craftsperson:
- How long they’ve been making handmade children’s toys? (If they have a long history of doing so, then the chances are the toys may be well constructed).
- How are the toys made? (This could give you an idea of how sturdy the toys are or whether there are likely to be any small parts).
- Where do they typically sell the toys? (Sometimes good quality handmade toys are also sold in shops and you could always go along to the shop for advice, too).
- What age is the toy aimed at? (This is important, as toys with very small parts aren’t suitable for babies or young children, but sometimes it’s not always obvious what age child the toy is aimed at being for).
In addition, as you pick up, play with and examine the toys it’s a good idea to keep safety in mind and make your own assessments about the toys. Some of the issues to look out for include:
- Any sharp, rough or jagged areas that could be awkward for a child to hold, cut their fingers or catch on their clothes.
- Any screws, nails or pins that could come loose and prove a danger.
- Any small parts that could prove to be a Choking Hazard.
- How well made the toy seems and whether you think it will last well after being played a lot with.
- Whether a guarantee is offered, to cover toys that suffer unexpected damage. Reputable companies may be more likely to offer this.
Go with your gut feeling and if you don’t feel 100% happy and reassured about the toy in question, then don’t purchase it.