A stuffed animal is a soft toy made out fabrics such as plush or cloth, which is filled with synthetic fiber, cotton, straw or wood wool. In some cases, the stuffed animals are filled with more coarse materials such as plastic pellets or beans. Stuffed animals distinguish themselves from other toys by their cuddly nature; they are often soft and have exaggerated features such as large eyes and short limbs to make them look more appealing.
Ensure there are no small parts that can come off easily and become trapped in a child’s throat or windpipe.Feel the toy for any sharp objects. A stuffed toy’s filling should be clean and free of objects or substances that may be harmful to a child.
Check seams are securely sewn. If synthetic material like nylon thread has been used, check that the ends of the threads are secure and will not come loose. Long and loose pieces of thread on a stuffed toy can cause strangulation and choking.
Only buy bean-bag style toys if you are sure the seams or material will not tear to allow the beans to escape. Polystyrene beads are particularly hazardous, as young children might inhale them.
Be aware that toys made from foam, such as bath blocks, may pose a choking risk if a child bites pieces off it. Foam toys are not recommended for children under three years of age.
Stuffed animals are so much more than just toys. Children learn through play, and in playing with stuffed animals they are in fact building their first relationships. Children will personify their plushies; give them names and assign them characteristics. Through these relationships, children learn how to care for someone outside themselves, how to empathize, and how to share. Basically, these first relationships serve as practice runs for the real thing.
What are the Benefits of Stuffed Plush Toys?