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Safe Toys

Safe Toys

Make sure your kids unwrap safe toys this year. Everyone will have a happier holiday.

By FamilyTime

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Kids love big, colorfully wrapped packages under the tree. Parents like them, too, because when it comes to gifts for young children, bigger usually is better.

This is because big toys tend to be safe toys.

These might be durable building blocks, hug-able stuffed animals, sturdy trucks, boats, and trains, and soft dolls.

Vigilant Shopping
Parents and others buying toys for youngsters should take heart that toy makers are more diligent about safety than they used to be. This means there are fewer out-and-out dangerous toys on the shelves.

This is not license to buy anything and everything you see. Use common sense and examine every toy for small parts, sharp edges and points, and the capacity to project anything through the air.

Look at the toy in the store. Read the packaging and ask questions. Don't be swayed by advertising and the pleas of your children. Make sensible decisions.

For safe toys, look for:

  • Age appropriate toys. When a manufacturer puts an age range on a toy, it does not refer to the skill level of the child. It refers instead to the safety of the toy. Buy toys designed for the age of the child.
  • Clear instructions. If you can't understand how a toy operates, how can you expect a child to manage?

For safe toys, avoid toys with:

  • Small, removable parts. No parts or objects from the toy should be able to fit through a paper towel roll -- pieces this size can cause choking in children under six. Choking is a leading cause of death for children under the age of one.
  • Sharp points and hard edges. These can cause serious injury if a child falls on them, throws them at another child, or plays incorrectly with them. Instead, look for soft, blunt, padded edges and corners.
  • Toys that emit high-pitched or very loud noises. These can cause damage to eardrums -- not to mention Mom's and Dad's sanity!
  • Toys that shoot projectiles. Even soft objects can be problematic when shot through the air. Small, pointed, or heavy ones are even more dangerous.

Vigilant Supervision
Older children can handle more complicated toys than younger ones. Explain to the older kids that they must keep their toys away from their younger siblings -- and then make sure they remember to do so.

Regardless of the child's age, explain how the toy should be used. For instance, very few are meant to be thrown at another child!

Remove all packaging as soon as the gift is opened. This is particularly important if the packing includes plastic or Styrofoam "peanuts." The former is a suffocation risk, the latter a choking one.

If you are giving a child a bicycle or scooter, be sure to include a helmet. In the case of scooters, include knee and elbow pads as well. Research indicates that wearing a helmet when riding a bike reduces the risk of head injury by 85 percent.

Vigilant Play
Buy toys that are age appropriate and then play with them with your child. The measure of a toy's value is the quality of the play it inspires.

Children need toys that encourage active play, creative play, learning play, and quiet play. No one toy does it all. And no toy is a substitute for interaction with the kids. Have fun!


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