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Child's play is safe with parents' help

December 16, 2002|by Christine L. Moats

Q: What are some things I should keep in mind when buying toys for children?

A: The age of the child, the child's interests and skill level are important things to consider as well as quality design and construction of the toy. The instructions or directions should be clear to you and, depending on the age of the child, clear to the child. Be sure that any plastic wrapping is thrown away immediately upon opening the toy so it does not become a hazard to the child.

Be sure to read labels on children's toys. Heed warnings such as, "not recommended for children under 4 years of age." Plush or fabric toys should have labels indicating that they are "flame retardant/flame resistant" and "washable."

What to avoid if possible:

  • Sharp edges

  • Small parts

  • Loud noises

  • Cords and strings

  • Sharp points

  • Propelled objects

Q: What are some tips when buying toys for children of certain age groups?


A: All toys are not appropriate for all children.

  • Younger than 3

  • Avoid buying toys that have small parts that pose a choking danger. Children under 3 tend to put everything in their mouths.

  • Children of any age should never be allowed to play with uninflated or broken balloons because of the choking danger.

  • Avoid objects that have a diameter of 1.75 inches or less, such as marbles, balls and games with balls.

  • Look for plush toys that are well made, with tightly secured eyes, noses and other parts. Young children pull and twist things.

  • Avoid toys that have sharp edges or points.

  • Ages 3-5

  • Stay away from toys that are constructed with thin, brittle plastic that might easily break into small pieces or leave jagged edges.

  • If shopping for household art supplies, including crayons and paint sets, look for the designation "ASTM D-4236." This means the product has been reviewed by a toxicologist and labeled, if necessary, with cautionary information.

  • Teach older children to keep their toys away from their younger siblings.


Christine L. Moats is wellness coordinator for Washington County Hospital.

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