Posted September 29, 2019 05:10:22In the age of baby dolls and baby carriages, there is a certain irony in the fact that it has become an accepted part of life for women to put their own hands inside of toys and play with them.
The problem, of course, is that the very act of doing so can put them at risk of getting cancer and other health problems.
But there is one simple solution: Make them safer.
That’s the premise of a new paper that is the result of a collaboration between researchers at the University of Melbourne and the University’s Department of Clinical Science.
“There are a lot of children that are playing with toys and there is nothing we can do about that,” says Dr. Michelle J. Scott, who led the research.
“But we can stop them from having toys in the first place by making sure that we are using toys that are safe for the baby.”
The paper, published today in the journal PLoS ONE, proposes an “educational strategy” to help prevent children from playing with the toy boxes.
It starts with the assumption that it is best to keep toys out of reach of children who are not yet able to walk or talk, because they may have developmental or behavioural problems that make it more likely that they will get the toys.
The paper proposes two possible approaches: first, by restricting the toys to adults who are at least 5 years old; second, by limiting the toys that children are allowed to play with to only those that have been properly tested and proven safe.
“Our study was designed to assess the effectiveness of the educational strategy of teaching children to use safety-rated toys that meet specific safety standards,” says Scott.
“It was aimed at parents, grandparents, teachers and parents of children under the age 8, but it could also be used to teach children as young as preschoolers and as young children.”
Parents should also be encouraged to share the toys with their children to reduce the risk of accidental exposure and to reduce their risk of developing toys with more potentially harmful chemicals.
“The authors suggest that teachers should use safety guidelines for toys that the children are exposed to, such as the use of a safety-grade toy, or for toys in a “safe” place.”
We have some evidence that when a child is exposed to a toy, the child’s brain becomes more active and more alert, which is why we recommend that children use safe toys,” says co-author and University of Victoria lecturer Dr. Julie Farr.”
Teachers should also take into account the risk factors that may make children more likely to get toys they are not supposed to play in, such a toddler, and if the toys are made in an unsafe environment, like a factory or home.””
We hope that the information we have gained from this study will lead to a better understanding of the risks of playing with these toys in schools and parents,” says Farr, a former senior science adviser to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne.
The research was funded by the Australian Research Council, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Department of Education, Health and Families, and the Victorian Government.
The paper is titled “A curriculum based on safety testing and safety guidelines, including toys and safety-rating: lessons for children.”
This research was conducted in partnership with the Australian Science Foundation (ASF), the University College London (UCL), the National Science Foundation and the Royal Society.