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A Grandparent’s Guide To Choosing Age Appropriate Toys

According to the U. Census Bureau, 1.3 million children are entrusted to their grandparents every day. Roles of a grandparent include spoiling and enlightening their grandkids with toys they will enjoy. After all, toys are considered to be treasures of childhood.

With this role comes an added responsibility to make sure that grandchildren stay safe and enjoy a toy that is age-appropriate. Grandparents make up a large percentage of toy buyers. Thousands of toys are marketed with the promise to educate and entertain kids. Unfortunately, not every toy is safe for children to play with. What can a grandparent look for when purchasing a toy for the kids that they love? Most pediatricians and child experts believe there are a lot of hidden hazards concerning toys that people should be made aware of.

Here is a guide that grandparents can use when it comes time to buy a distinctive toy for that special little person: * Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Labels on toy packaging should specify the age group the toy is made for. Consider that children at any age have different maturity levels. You may want to avoid buying a toy that won’t hold the child’s attention. Make sure to buy educational toys that match every child’s age group. This will make the toy effective and fun to play with. * Read and follow all warning labels. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC, choking is the most common cause of toy-related deaths. Warning labels are made to alert if a toy poses a choking hazard for younger children, typically under the ages of three. Federal law requires these labels.

Make sure toys made for older children are kept out of the reach of younger children. Objects such as balls should not be less than 1.75" in diameter. Avoid toys that have small parts that can potentially be pried off by tiny curious hands. Examples of toys that contain small parts are stuffed teddy bear’s eyes or a wooden car’s wheels. Stuffed and wooden toys are still very popular among children; just think BIG when checking out the “parts” attached to the toy. Toys should be larger than the child’s mouth. Tip: if a toy or toy part can fit inside an empty toilet paper roll, chances are the toy is too small. This would not be a safe toy. If a toy contains small parts, parts should be secured and guaranteed not to come off.

* Make sure toys are free from sharp and pointy edges. As an experienced mother or father, you are probably aware, small children have a tendency to put most things in their mouth. It is important toys are free from sharp edges as to avoid cuts and injuries. There may be danger of a child falling on top of a toy while playing. To avoid injuries, make sure pointy edges are buffered or eliminated, * Avoid LOUD toys. Children’s ears are highly sensitive and hearing can easily be damaged by loud noises. In order to find out if a toy is too loud, use your own ears as a tool. If the toy is too loud for you, it’s twice as loud for the child. You can choose to take out batteries of the toy or cover speakers with tape. This method is not preferred since tape can be pulled off and the child can swallow it.

* Make sure toys are free of toxic chemicals. Toys such as art supplies, play make-up and crayons have been known to contain toxic chemicals. Before making a purchase, investigate ingredients and contents of the product by looking at the label. The same label should also provide instructions on what to do in case of accidental ingestion of any hazardous substance that the item might contain. It may be wise to consult your local poison control to use as a reference if you need one. * Some toys come with cords or strings. If a cord or string is longer than 12 inches in length, it can pose a strangulation hazard if looped. Never cut an electrical cord! Make sure electrical cords or wires are secured and protected. Make sure to supervise if an electrical toy needs to be plugged into an outlet.


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