Got toys? Christmas seems to be the time of year we find ourselves shopping for toys. Whether giving or receiving, it’s important that certain guidelines be observed to make sure the toys that’ll be used in your children’s ministry are safe.
Use the following guidelines to make sure your toys are safe.
- Age Appropriate—Observe manufacturer recommendations on age-appropriateness of each toy. Age recommendations are usually found on the packaging. For toys donated to your ministry without the original packaging, contact the manufacturer for information on age recommendations.
- Toy Shape and Size—Toys should be large enough that they can’t be placed in a child’s nose, mouth, or ears. For example, marbles and beads are too small for safe use. Avoid any toy that has sharp edges or points. (You know exactly what will happen with that!)
- Moving Parts—Check to see that all moving parts and any small pieces are securely fastened. Broken toys should be repaired to their original condition or thrown out.
- Fireproof—Fabric toys and doll clothing should carry a label that says “flame retardant/flame resistant” or “nonflammable.” This includes stuffed animals and puppets.
- Clean and Sanitized—Shared toys, such as those in a nursery, should be regularly cleaned and disinfected to keep them sanitary. This is especially important during the cold and flu season. (That would be now.) Experts advise that toys should be sanitized with either a household bleach and water mixture or with a commercial disinfecting product registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care, a sanitizing solution of ¼ cup of household bleach added to one gallon of water (or one tablespoon of bleach added to one quart of water) is an effective way to reduce illness-producing germs on hard surfaces.
- Toy Recalls—This is the time of year many new toys hit the market for Christmas delivery. There are always a few that end up being recalled for defects or design flaws. To check if any toys or nursery furnishings at your church are being recalled, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/
Kids love toys, and our ministries use them to create a fun place that children enjoy. Keep your kids and your ministry safe—with safe toys.
– – Taken from a recent Shepherd’s Watch newsletter. Sign up today for Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks and receive your free monthly newsletter filled with advice and tips on keeping your church safe.
(We love to provide tips to keep your ministry safe. You may also want to consult your local legal advisors to get their perspective on this topic!)