1/5/09

10 Things To Consider Before Getting Gifts For Children

. 1/5/09

Choosing safe toys for toddlers is an important job for any parent. You need to keep in mind the child's age, interests and skill level. Each child is different so a toy for one three year old may not be appropriate for another child of the same age because their skill level is different. You want to look for quality design and construction in the toy you are choosing for a toddler. Read the directions before you purchase a toy. Be sure they are clear and concise. Read the label carefully as it contains important information. Some toys will have clear warning that state "Not recommended for children under three." In this case, if the child is two, this would not be a safe toy for that child. Other warnings include "Flame resistant" and "Washable materials." These are safe toys for toddlers. Let's take a look at some different types of toys and their safety features.

1. Sharp edges- Toys for children under the age of eight years old should be free of sharp glass and metal edges. Toys that are made of brittle plastic or glass breaks easily, exposing sharp points and edges. Wooden, metal and plastic toys may have sharp edges due to being poorly made. Keep in mind that toys that are used for long periods of time and aren't made very well may break and the edges will become exposed and sharp.

2. Small parts- Toys that are from years ago can have smaller toys hidden inside which is a danger for toddlers who can swallow a small object. There is a new law however than stops toy manufacturers from putting any small parts in toys that are intended for children under the age of three years old. This includes but is certainly not limited to small eyes that are just glued on to stuffed animals and dolls, removable squeakers on squeaky toys and dolls and stuffed toys that are stuffed with small pellets which can be swallowed and lodged in a child's throat or ears.

3. Loud noises - Loud noises scare small children. Just look at any toddler at a fireworks display. Most of them are startled and jump at the banging of the fireworks. Toy cap guns should not be purchased for any toddler. Not only do they scare children but some of them can do damage to a toddler's hearing. There is a law that requires that all noisemaking toys carry a label that states "Warning: Do not fire closer than one foot to the ear. Do not use indoors."

4. Cords and strings - Many toys on the market today have some kind of string attached to them. Like the Seek and Say toys where you pull the string and the toy says a saying or makes an animal nose. These kinds of toys are dangerous for toddlers. Even though the string is attached to the toy, pulling the string hard enough can easily break the string. Any toys with sting or cords can easily become wrapped around a child's neck. Never hang any toys that have long strings from a toddler's crib or playpen.

5. Sharp points - This is a bit different that sharp edges. Older toys were made with objects such as pins, staples and wires which are of course dangerous to preschool aged children. A new law now states that toys made for children under the age of eight years of age cannot contain sharp points. Be sure to double check and make sure that dolls clothing, hair or accessories do not contain staples or pins.

6. Propelled objects - I think these types of toys are dangerous for kids of any age but this holds true especially in younger children. Propelled toys are like missile launches and Frisbees. They can be dangerous when flying through the air and hits a child in the eye or even cause head injuries if it hits hard enough. Other propelled objects include lawn darts or darts from a dart board game.

7. Age appropriate toys - Believe it or not, not all toys are suitable for all children. Be sure to follow the labels exactly as stated. Some toys can be bought for an older child and get into the hands of their younger brother or sister in which the toy is not intended for. Be especially wary of balloons. Balloons that are not blown up can be a chocking hazard.

8. Electric toys - Here are another type of toy that is pretty dangerous at any age. My nephew suffered burns on an electric train that was improperly wired. This was many years ago and now electric toys must be made with specific surface temperatures, electrical construction and very clear warning labels.

9. Infant toys - There are many toys on the market today that are made for infants such as rattles and teethers. It is important to make sure these toys are large enough so that they cannot be swallowed.

10. Online Reviews - When in doubt about any toy, do a search for the toy and then put the word review after it. You will find other users of that particular toy and the positive and negative experiences they had.

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