During the holidays, everyone wants to make a child smile by giving him or her a new toy as a gift. However, just because all toys are designed for play doesn’t mean that they’re all safe for every child. Some toys can present serious hazards depending on the child’s age and developmental progression.
Luckily, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires toy manufacturers to meet specific standards when making toys, and to label their products if they may be unfit for some children. As a result, toy manufacturers design product labels to reduce the guesswork for adults when they’re looking for a safe toy to purchase. And, even though all children develop at their own unique pace, there are certain stages of development that toy designers can roughly predict and use to create their products accordingly.
Although you should always check a product’s packaging before purchasing it for a child, here are a few more specific tips when you’re shopping for toys:
- For children under 3 years of age: Toys with parts that are 1.75 inches or less in size should not be purchased, as they can be easily swallowed or inserted into the nose or ears. Additionally, toys with straps or ribbons that can strangle children can also present hazards.
- For children aged 3-5: Toys made out of plastic can easily break into smaller pieces. You should also be aware that art supplies may have toxic chemicals and shouldn’t be used by children.
- For children aged 6-8: Toys that can easily break should be carefully considered before they are given to children.
- For children aged 9-12: Most toys can be given to children at this age, but other items such as BB guns or motorized vehicles should not be given as gifts.