Ensuring that You Get a Safe Toy Chest

toy chest safetyOne thing that every parent needs to be concerned with is child safety.  You want to make sure that your child is safe in every aspect of life.  This is especially true with things you don’t expect to ever have to worry about, like a toy chest.

I recently read a review where the reviewer had chosen that toy chest over any other because of all the safety features.  They had a friend lose a son to an accident.  The lid of the army trunk they were using as a chest dropped on the little boy’s neck, killing him.  For this reason, the reviewer wanted to make sure that her grandchild has a toy box that would be safe.

That was a scary story, and it prompted me to investigate more into how to make toy boxes safe.  We have an older box in our basement.  It’s made of plastic, so I’m not concerned about the lid dropping onto the kids.  The bigger concern for me is that it has shelving on the top portion which the kids like to climb.  Fortunately, this hasn’t been a big issue as the box is pretty sturdy and doesn’t tip over (at least, when it’s filled with toys).  But still, it is something you have to think about as a parent.

These are some of the criteria I’ve come up with that make a safe toy chest:

  • The toy box lid cannot slam shut.  A slamming lid can cause a number of injuries, including concussions, broken fingers, and even a broken neck.  To prevent this, many manufacturers make the hinges slow closing on wooden toy chests, whose lids are heavier.  Plastic toy boxes generally have lids that remove completely.  There are also hinges that lock into place, but that seems less safe to me.  Plus, what if a child gets his fingers pinched when trying to get the hinges down?
  • The toy box has air holes built in.  I would say this is a necessity in larger toy boxes where there is no gaps between the lid and the box itself.  Children do like to climb inside of things.  In our house, they cannot fit into the toy box, but they do climb into the dress up trunk.  Air holes prevent the risk of suffocation if a child gets shut inside the box.  Along with this, I’d say not having latches on the outside should be a given.
  • The toy box is well made.  While less sturdy toy boxes may be cheaper, they also have the risk of creating splinters or broken pieces that could hurt your child.  If you go with a less expensive box, try a plastic or canvas one.  This way, you don’t have to worry about the particle board giving out when your child jumps on top of it.  Also, I would examine a used toy chest for any damage carefully.
  • The paint is lead free.  It seems a given, but not everything actually is.  My husband works for a sporting goods company, and they have to regularly test their products for lead.  Some of it still comes back positive, especially in items made overseas.  Those products are then not able to be sold.  I would assume most other companies do these tests as well, but there’s always the chance something can slip through.  You can get an inexpensive lead test here or at the drug store.

There are other features that a manufacturer might add, like finger grooves to protect fingers.  However, if the latch closes slowly, that might not be necessary.

So to ensure you get a safe toy chest for your child, you will want to read the description carefully of any boxes you are considering.  Also, look at the reviews to make sure that no flaws were discovered.  There are many good brands of toy chests out there that are safe and worry free.

Photo by Just Jennifer via Flickr

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