Do you want to buy the best soft toys for your child, but you don't know how to tell the good ones from the bad ones? Be sure ! There are indeed methods that will allow you to make the right choice. In this article, we invite you to learn more about these iconic toys. We also offer you to discover the best means that will allow you to classify them in terms of quality . This way you won't have to hesitate any longer when you decide to buy a new soft toy for your child. Let's get started without further ado!
Soft toys: what you need to know
As you will see in this article, a stuffed animal can be much more than just a toy in the eyes of a child. Over the years and through several generations, they have accompanied the youngest until adolescence. Many of us still own our favorite stuffed animals, and even though we no longer play with them, we keep them mostly for the sentimental value they carry.
If you're part of a large family, you probably grew up in a house that was full of stuffed animals. This is much more common than you think, because it is an object to which children attach a lot of importance. Also, as a parent, you know how attached children can get to their toys. You must therefore make sure to offer them soft toys that are not likely to expose them to dangers , whether physical or health-related. However, with an ever-expanding market, choosing the best stuffed animals can be tricky. But before that, you must first learn about their origins.
The origins of stuffed animals
Since their creation, stuffed animals have quickly become essential objects for all children. While today, you can find sophisticated stuffed animals, in the likeness of characters from films and series, the very first stuffed animal in the world was that of an animal. It was a simple cushion in the shape of an elephant and it was created in Germany, by Margarete Steiff . However, it is interesting to note that the Steiff company, which began mass-producing soft toys in 1903, was not the first to do so. Indeed, in 1892, an American company produced stuffed cats called Ithaca Kitty and was able to sell more than 200,000 copies by Christmas of that same year.
So yes, contrary to what one might think, the world's first stuffed animal was not a bear, but a cat. The Ithaca Kitty plush has sold millions of copies around the world, and this success has almost revolutionized popular culture, generating films, songs and children's books in its effigy. So it didn't take long for new stuffed animals to hit the market.
Our tips for choosing the best stuffed animals
CE marking: a guarantee of quality
You are probably already familiar with CE marking. The latter is imposed on all soft toy manufacturers wishing to sell their products in the euro zone and is cited in countless texts of European laws. For manufacturers to be entitled to this famous marking, they must comply with a long list of conditions. They must also go through periodic checks to ensure quality is maintained .
As you have just seen above, it is extremely difficult in Europe to market counterfeit products bearing a false CE marking. In other words, from the moment you find this marking on the label, the plush is probably of good quality . That said, even among the best stuffed animals, it is always possible to tell the difference between the good ones and the not so good ones. Here's how to do it:
The feeling to the touch
As with clothing, it is essential to test the feel of the soft toys you wish to buy. Of course, you can skip this step if you already know the materials used in the manufacture of the plush in question. The idea remains the same: you should always choose soft toys made with materials that your child likes to touch.
Even if the best manufacturers have a fairly low error rate, you can still come across a poorly made copy. For this reason, you should always check the quality of the padding . The best stuffed animals have no empty spaces. Do not hesitate to test the plush before buying it.
Good quality plush is guaranteed to be durable. Of course, you can't test its durability by shooting it with all your might. However, you can still pay attention to the stitching and gluing quality of some accessories. Especially check the eyes of stuffed animals, especially if they are made of glass or plastic, as they could pose a danger to your child. Indeed, if the eyes stick out, your child could swallow them.
On the Internet you can find countless testimonials from parents who have already bought the soft toy for their children. Shop around on review sites and read as many reviews as possible. Pay particular attention to recurring criticism, especially if it concerns the health of children. In general, if the product represents a health risk, it will be quickly withdrawn from the market.
The best stuffed animals: types and characteristics
Today, the plush industry has reached an exceptional level of maturity. It is therefore quite normal that we find a wide variety of high-quality soft toys. The different types of stuffed animals currently on the market are as follows:
- The teddy bear: this is the so-called “standard” teddy bear. It can wear clothes and it can come in several sizes, shapes and colors depending on the brands.
- Stuffed Animals: Today there are hardly any known animals that do not have their own stuffed version. It is even possible to find mythological and imaginary creatures, such as Pegasus or even unicorns.
- The rag doll: its body is made up of two fabric parts, which are sewn and stuffed with rags. They usually wear rather old clothes and their hair is often knitted.
- Popular character stuffed animals: whether it's Star Wars, Pokemon or Hello Kitty, there will always be stuffed animals featuring iconic characters from film or animated culture.
- Collectible stuffed animals: these stuffed animals are generally small in size and stand out for their great variety. They always come in series and are designed to have a better visual impact in groups.
- Soft toys to help sleep: as their name suggests, these soft toys are primarily intended to help babies and young children fall asleep. They are usually medium in size, so that children can hug them.
- Interactive stuffed animals: equipped with certain electronic devices, these stuffed animals can interact with children. They can make sounds, and even move, which is sure to get their attention.
With so much variety in stuffed animals, you'll be spoiled for choice. In addition, it should be noted that all soft toys are not intended only for children of all ages. Indeed, some are designed for the little ones, while others are more suitable for slightly older children. In order to help you find the ideal soft toy for your child, we present this classification:
- Stuffed animals for all ages: stuffed animals, rag dolls, popular character stuffed animals, collectible stuffed animals.
- Soft toys for the little ones: interactive soft toys, soft toys to help them sleep.
The procedure to follow to assess the conformity of soft toys
In order to assess the quality of the soft toys of the various producers, the latter must follow a procedure which consists of two stages and which relates exclusively to the manufacture. During the two stages in question, the manufacturers go through a series of tests where they will have to:
- Control the production
- Pass the EC type examination
- Conform to Type
- Ensure production quality
- Ensure product quality
- Check the products
- Check unit
- Completely ensure the quality
CE conformity marking
It is easy to recognize the CE mark. There is an acronym which bears the letters C and E , as well as a serial number which makes it possible to identify the product. This number is assigned by the same organization that carries out the control during the production phase.
The CE mark is most often directly stuck on the product, but it happens that it is placed on its packaging or on the documents included in it. Without the CE mark, the products cannot be sold in the countries of the euro zone.
Although it is rather rare, it is possible that some of the texts of European law prevent the CE marking of certain products. In this case, other markings (such as those of national conformity) may be placed on the products in question, as long as they are not confusing with the CE marking.
Why can we count on the CE marking?
Above all, it is important to remember that all the products concerned by the regulations of the new legislative framework and which do not have national certifications must imperatively have the CE marking so that they can be marketed in Europe. By obtaining this marking, products can be traded freely throughout the euro zone. It is also forbidden to affix the CE marking to products that do not comply with European standards.
The authorities as well as the customs have the obligation to check that the products are indeed compliant. They therefore have the right to ask manufacturers to present the documents proving their compliance. They can also verify the legitimacy of the CE marks affixed to the products by calling on order fulfillment service providers. Of course, any violation will be subject to administrative and criminal penalties.
The advantages of high quality plush toys
Unlike classic toys, stuffed animals are more likely to accompany children into adulthood. We all know at least one adult who still has their favorite stuffed animal in their room. It turns out that high-quality stuffed animals stand the test of time much more easily. They are also dirt-repellent and, if properly maintained, pose no risk to your health or that of your child. Indeed, the materials used for these soft toys are the least allergenic and they prevent dirt from sticking to their textures.
On the other hand, it is well known that children are very attached to their stuffed animals and can even recognize them when presented to them alongside perfect copies, in particular thanks to certain marks which make them unique. Thus, it is always better to opt for a quality plush. The latter will certainly have a longer lifespan, unlike a low quality plush, which could deteriorate in just a few months.
You now know the main characteristics of a quality plush! You can therefore choose the best stuffed animals according to rigorous and effective selection criteria. By following our tips, you will be able to recognize which ones are of higher quality. Do not hesitate to check the authenticity of the CE marking either. Up to you !