(From a balloon twister and father)
Let's make it clear once and for all: balloons are not intended for children under 3 years. Balloons are a choking hazard. They can also cause an allergic reaction. That's the end of the official part. Now let's talk common sense. Balloons pop up! It happens unpredictably and it scares everyone, in particular toddlers. It's the most common danger that we are all exposed to from balloons. Balloons have beautiful shapes and amusing colors that attract everyone- especially kids. The loud sound of a busted balloon scares everyone-especially babies. Trying to avoid balloons does not help. Sooner than later balloons magically appear near a child and then BOOM. I am a father and a balloon twister. I live with balloons around me everywhere. My apartment is a kingdom of balloons! Balloons came in the life of my baby from his very first days. He sees them everywhere--except the room he sleeps in. I also try my best twisting balloons only when he is fully awake. He likes to play with balloons, the kind of games all toddlers enjoy. You know simple rules of this game. First the baby has to grab IT. Then IT goes to the baby's mouth. IT could be anything including balloons. Well, balloon making BOOM in the mouth of my baby is no fun at all! I found a possible solution to avoid this BOOM disaster. I make soft or very slightly inflated balloons for my baby. I use big size balloons shaped as animals (bunny, elephant, mouse and etc.) or round (punch) ball for this purpose. Fully inflated balloon of this kind is about 2-3 feet (Pic 1).
The flat size of this balloon is about 5-8 inches only. I fill the balloon with just enough air to keep its shape. The balloon remains almost the same size (Pic 2).
Give it to baby. The balloon will last for a while. Baby will squeeze it and eventually bite a hole in the balloon. No big boom happens with soft inflated balloons (Pic 3 and 4)!
The balloon is too soft to make the disaster sound. I watch my child everywhere all the time as all parents do. Balloons or who knows what, unfortunately, it's the only way we may avoid a problem. (My guess it's the problem without a solution). We get a new balloon once I see the balloon peacefully deflated. Well, that's how my baby enjoys balloons. It's up to parents to decide what their baby plays with. Choosing big balloons is not always the best choice. If you let the child to choose between big and small balloon most likely the child will go for the small balloon. Kids and adults have different psychology and preferences. Telling parents that their baby is probably a bit young to play with balloons is a good practice I always follow. Dads and moms usually appreciate it. I also noticed that my baby likes to share balloons (and everything else for the matter) with others. Most likely he does it just because he is naturally a very kind man. Though, he may have picked up the sharing idea from watching his older siblings and me giving away balloons at free balloon twisting workshops. He learned that sharing balloons with people is a sure way to get smiles and friendly attention from anyone. What a cool game! The sharing game is actually one I personally enjoy to teach my kids for obvious reason: babies listen what parents say and do what parents do. So, one has to actually do kind things to teach a child to be a nice person. Sharing balloons comes easily and does not hurt my wallet much. What balloons are good (or safe) for babies? None without parental supervision!
Have fun and happy twisting :)