Choosing the Safest Toys for Your Baby: 8 Things to Look Out For & Why

When it comes to choosing toys for babies, Safety should always be the top priority. This doesn’t mean that we have to subject ourselves only to boring toys or compromise on fun – in fact, safety and quality often starts with design; and a well-designed toy will be safe, fun – and look good all at the same time.

In today’s guide, we will explore the basics of everything you need to know when shopping for Baby’s playtime – especially during those first 12 months. Whether you’re a first-time parent, a seasoned caregiver, or someone who has been blessed with little ones in their life, you will be empowered with the right know-how and confidence for shopping Better for Baby by the end of this scroll.


Size is possibly the first and foremost factor that we should consider when choosing a toy for Baby. While ensuring that the toy is not so small that it will prove a choking hazard, remember not to get something that is too big either. When left unsupervised, an oversized toy may cause accidental ouchies from being too heavy, too complicated – or simply too big for Baby’s fingers to handle. At the end of this spectrum, oversized toys for babies can even cause more grievous harm, like suffocation and/or strangulation.


When engaging a toy beyond its intended purpose, ensure 100% supervision at all times. Even the best-tested toys in this world can only be certified safe for the age or use which they have been deemed appropriate.

If a toy is meant for decorative purposes, ensure that Baby does not have access to it without adult supervision. If your mobile is designed with a pulling element, do not hang it over their crib or within reach. And in play situations where you want to introduce a new toy to Baby ahead of their developmental age or skill, ensure that the play session has your full, undivided attention from start to finish.


Keep your eye out: if they are plastic, they should be BPA-free and phthalate-free; if there are colours, the paint used should either be water-based or at the very least, free from lead and heavy chemicals. For wood, opt for pieces crafted from solid wood instead of composite materials like plywood or MDF, as the latter requires a lot of glue during its manufacturing process and that is not a good thing for babies.


This includes toys that can be taken apart; in these situations, all jointed components should be big enough even when detached from the original toy.

Pay special attention to toys that have buttons or beads embellished on their bodies or eyes (e.g. plush toys) – where possible, opt for a plush made specifically for babies; these plushies usually have fully sewn-on features and accents, with no risk of any small component coming off over time.

Also, toys with zips have to be child-proof so that Baby cannot access inner components unsupervised. These zips will usually be designed without a slider, and can only be operated by an adult with a hooked contraption (e.g. a paper clip).


There is a reason why well-certified pacifier clips are annoyingly short and can sometimes be difficult to manipulate. This is because there is an actual industry safety standard even for the length of a toy: Any toy with cords or strings (or are cord and string like) cannot be more than 30 cm long. For stricter safety standards like the European EN71, the maximum length is a whoppingly conservative 22cm.

These measures are put in place because cords and strings that are too long can pose a strangulation hazard if wrapped around a baby’s neck or limbs.


Toys that are safe and comfortable to handle create a positive play experience for babies. It fosters a sense of confidence and independence in exploring their surroundings, and promote a healthy curiosity for learning.

A good toy, even when made for toddlers, will keep construction safety at the forefront of their minds – and this means that smoothly finished corners and well-rounded contours will always take top priority. This not only lessens the likelihood of mishaps and accidents during playtime, but also makes the toy more robust; as toys with smooth edges tend to withstand wear-and-tear better, ensuring they can be enjoyed for a longer time.


The topmost overlooked safety consideration when shopping for a baby toy, is sound decibel level. Sometimes, we may even absentmindedly choose a musical mobile or plush that is ‘louder’, because the other one seems somehow muted in comparison and we deem it not as appealing.

Babies’ ears are particularly sensitive and definitely a lot more delicate than adults’; exposure to excessive noise levels can potentially harm their auditory development. This is why a better musical mobile or musical toy intended for babies will categorically be softer- it means that it has passed muster certified safe, and you can use it with your Baby without misgivings.


Is this list starting to get overwhelming? Well, the best way to ensure all of this (without needing to do tons of research before every single piece of toy you buy), is to simply go with brands you can trust.

Look out for brands that are safety-certified. Our personal recommendation would be to look for the European EN71 Toy Safety Standard (or the CE Mark), because it is arguably one of the strictest in the world.

Toys that are EN71-certified have all passed criteria set way above traditional safety standards. Apart from the Cord Length example above where E71 standards are set way above ordinary safety directives, EN71-certified toys also have to pass a whole host of other tests not traditionally conducted. This includes Flammability Tests, Drop Tests, comprehensive Chemicals & Substances Tests – and even a Migration of Elements Tests, which inspects if the toy leeches any elements in the case of mouthing or teething.

Generally speaking, all toys sold from and within the European Union (EU) are mandated to be EN71-certified. In fact, it has become such a recognized symbol for safety that many toy brands outside of the EU subject themselves to the EN71 testing process, to provide consumers with the same confidence in their Quality and Safety standards. This includes brands like PlanToys (Thailand), Folkmanis (USA), and Tikiri (Sri Lanka).