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December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Be Sure To Select Age Appropriate And Eye-Friendly Toys For A Safe Holiday

November 19, 2008

The holidays are filled with anticipation of gifts and new toys. When making decisions for selecting new toys, parents need to tell Santa and loved ones to pick eye-safe and age appropriate toys for children.

Many times an accident can happen when a toy is not age or developmentally appropriate. We want to avoid eye injuries by suggesting to parents that they be careful in selecting toys with this in mind.

So, in general, what toys should parents avoid? Toys with pointed, sharp or rough edges or pieces. Blocks are great for almost any age as long as corners and edges are blunted to reduce the risk of eye injury. Also, to avoid eye injuries, beware of long-handled toys, like mops, brooms, pony sticks and rakes. Check to make sure that they have rounded handles and watch closely children under 2 with such toys.

Be careful to avoid toys that may be age appropriate for an older child but could be dangerous for a younger child. Always supervise children in situations when they might share an inappropriate toy with a younger sibling.

Avoid slingshots, dart guns and arrows for children under 6. The best suggestion is to avoid these toys completely, especially if you have younger children in the house. Second best suggestion is to supervise any child with these toys – they have the potential to be harmful.

Great toys for children are those that stimulate visual development, improve hand-eye coordination and demonstrate spatial relationships.

Toys for children under age 2 include: brightly colored mobiles, stuffed animals, activity gyms, blocks, balls, stacking and nesting toys, buckets and measuring cups, puzzles, shape sorters, and musical toys. Appropriate and eye-friendly toys for children over age 2 include: child-sized household items like brooms, vacuums, rakes, lawn mowers, refrigerator and stove sets and outside toys like sandboxes, kiddie pools, riding toys and backyard gyms and swings. Magnetic letters, stringing beads, toy cash registers are great for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Some toys are simply not safe and may be recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). For a list of toy recalls, call (800) 638-2772.

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