Which of the Following Toys Are Safe for 18-Month-Old Children?

You may be surprised.

Baby Thomas playing.

Baby Thomas playing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only 37% of the 49 grandparents who answered this question in a recent survey reported on at moms.today.com. got it right.

Dr. Amanda Soong, pediatrician, professor and mother of two, asked grandparents in three grandparenting support groups, many of them primary caregivers, 15 questions to see how close they could come to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.

They largely flunked the test.

Although grandparents have experience and instincts and love, more is known now about what is safe in a child’s environment than was known when we were raising our children.

Which of the Following Toys Are Safe for 18-month-old Children to Play With?

Christmas is coming. You want to know the answer to this one.

Here were their choices:

  • Latex (plain, not Mylar) balloons (2.2% picked this answer)
  • Books (37%)
  • Barbie or GI Joe dolls (4.3%)
  • None of the above (56.5%)

Although most grandparents thought none of the choices were safe, the correct answer is books.

While grandparents who answered this survey were concerned that 18-month-olds would just chew on books and perhaps even scratch themselves, research tells us they not only won’t hurt themselves but early exposure to books improves vocabulary and school readiness.

Balloons are a potential hazard because they can be a choking risk for toddlers who may try to inhale instead of exhale to blow them up, or simply try to eat them and get them caught in their throat.

Almost one third of the 373 children in the U.S. who died from choking on children’s products between 1972 and 1992, died from choking on a latex balloon.

Barbie and GI Joe dolls’ packaging from Mattel emphasizes that, because of the small parts that can break off, they are not suitable for children under 3.

The rule of thumb is that if a toy or part of a toy can fit through a toilet paper roll, it is too small for a child under three.

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Did you know toddlers benefit from books even before they can read?

Did you know there was a difference between latex and Mylar balloons for safety?

Had you ever heard of the toilet paper roll rule?

To you and keeping your cute grandchildren safe.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers



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