Disclosure: This non toxic play gym post about was sponsored by FitnessKid. Any opinions expressed are my own.
A play gym for an infant can provide a lot of fun. It will be a safe place where the baby can have her things and do what she likes.
A play gym, of course, does much more than just entertains. Parents choose these toys with the goals of promoting visual development, hand-eye coordination, improving gross motor skills, cognitive development, and and more. In basic terms, these toys can help the child recognize various colors, sounds, and shapes. Babies can do many activities in the gym safely like rolling, reaching, and grasping.
However, you will have to make sure that you have a non toxic play gym. You may see play gyms on the market made of plastic materials, toxic dyes, PVC, synthetic fibers, and glues that can cause a lot of harm. Be aware of consumer reports and even articles by child development experts that recommend certain products. Babies will pick up anything they find to explore and chew on, so be sure to be looking for a simple design with baby-safe materials and no choking hazard warnings. For example, a wooden play gym can be a great addition to your home. These are becoming more popular and are made to last.
A wooden activity gym for infants is also a popular gift for the newborn. Relatives and grandparents will often gift one. Consider getting one if you haven’t already received the gift.
What to Look For When Choosing a Non-Toxic Play Gym
Try to find an un-painted baby gym or activity center. While they may not boast bright colors, you won't have to worry about paint chipping off or being scratched. In addition, these gyms can also look very beautiful. Be sure to check out the home gym by fitnesskid made of solid wood. The best options are gyms made of hardwoods that have been sand smoothed and kept unstained. You can still choose bright colors and lots of contrast with the baby toys you purchase, while the main sections of the gym are peaceful and neutral in color.
You can also find baby products that have been finished with beeswax or organic food-grade drying oils. If you're looking for a specialty, high end baby activity gym, wood from the rubber tree is a great choice. However, remember, not all rubber wood is of the best quality. Looking at reviews for the best baby play mat is still important.
Look at the Design and Material
Also consider the design of the play gym. It is best to select a product that has been made from fewer small parts. In the United States, you can verify that your knit boys, wooden toys, and any natural materials pass safety inspections. Look for the Children's Product Certificate on the Consumer Products Safety Commission website. There's also a helpful video on how what the CPC is and how companies can certify their product passes. This will help you determine if the product you're looking at may have unsafe parts, such as small magnets, or glue which could be harmful to the environment and/or people.
Can I Get a Painted Baby Gym?
Yes, you can purchase a painted baby gym made of wood. But, you need to ensure that only a non-toxic, water-based paint has been used. There have been instances where painted play gyms had to be recalled because they contained a lot of lead and contaminants. Once again, go for a trusted brand and beware of bargain activity mats.
When buying, look for certification that will show that no volatile organic compounds or heavy metals have been used.
How and Where It Has Been Made
You will find infant gyms for playtime throughout the world. But to be sure of the quality. There are many great products produced all over the world. However, some imported toys fail the toxicity safety standard. They are not of the best quality even if they are PBDEs or Polybrominated Fire Retardants treated. Larger scale production, bargain products will often cost a lot less to you as the end consumer. If you want to save money, do your research to ensure that no toxic chemicals have been used to make it. Read the product description carefully before buying.
Having said this, you will also need to be careful about the US products. Toys that have been approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission can also have polyvinyl chloride (PVC), hormone-disrupting bisphenol-A (BPA), lead, toxic dyes, and other harmful materials.
Remember, each part of the toy is never tested. So, the frame of your play gym can meet the regulations, but the parts hanging from it can still contain toxic chemicals that will be harmful. Look at all product information to ensure your toy is made of non-toxic materials.
Look At the Baby Gym Toys
Infants like to reach out for things around them. Many play gyms have areas where you can hang toys. They will try to hold them and even put them in their mouths– which most toys are made for at this developmental stage of childhood. Do a quick check of the material of these toys, looking for any loose pieces little hands can dislodge. Make sure material is high quality and will not shed. Avoid toys that are made with plastic, polyester, or PVC if possible.
For anything with a filling or stuffing, such as an popular organic cotton teether, ensure seams are intact and the baby won't accidently get the filling in his or her mouth.
What’s Age Appropriate for Play Gyms and Toys?
You will find play gyms that are very bright, noisy, and shiny. Some parents find these can actually over-stimulate their child, especially for longer play time. Avoid the ones that come packed with loud, hanging toys. You, the parent, should always choose the toys you want. As a mom I always thought the best baby gym was one I could switch out toys for. Some have clasps that allow you to switch out the hanging or attached toys. Try different shapes, different color wooden ring attachments, and more. Switching out the toys actually can help your baby's attention and keep it more fun!
Many child development gurus have suggested that parents should place the toys a bit to the side. When you do this, the infant will have to turn her head to look at it and this action will strengthen her neck muscles. Consult your pediatrician for ways to make tummy time fun. A comfortable mat to go with your play gym is also a great option for this. For newer babies, bright, contrasting toys will capture their attention. Older babies may prefer more interactive toys, and safe teethers. You can attach clean wooden teethers to your play gym for something they can safely teeth on.
A gym for the infant is a great idea. It will be fun, entertaining for the infant and will make his or her active and playful. Keep these consumer tips in mind as you shop for your baby. You will certainly want a non toxic play gym in your home.
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