Age-appropriate toys keep
holidays safe for children
Traffic is picking up. The malls are getting crowded. The holiday season
is upon us. Once again, it is time to hit the stores for gift shopping.
And, once again, the child safety experts at Egleston Hospital are encouraging
parents to examine thoroughly any gift purchases for children.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that in 1993 there
were over 113,000 children under age 14 treated in hospital emergency rooms
for toy-related injuries. In 1994, the Child Safety Protection Act, which
requires manufacturers to place warning labels on toys with small parts
that might pose a choking hazard to young children, was signed into law.
The National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the first and only national organization
dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury, offers
the following toy safety guide for age-appropriate toys:
Infants to 1-year-olds: As babies learn to reach, roll over and
sit up, they are at increased risk for suffocation. The most suitable toys
for the first year include activity quilts, stuffed animals without button
noses and eyes, bath toys, soft dolls, baby swings and squeaky toys.
1- to 2-year-old toddlers: Children this age are curious and have
no sense of danger. They like to climb, jump, throw and play rough-and-tumble
games. Supervision is important and the best toys for this age group are
books, blocks, fit-together toys, balls, push-and-pull toys, pounding toys
and shape toys.
2- to 5-year-old preschoolers: As any parent of a preschooler
can tell you, these children spend much of their time running. They like
tests of physical strength and begin to develop skills such as riding a
tricycle, increasing finger control and the ability to build with large
blocks and construction materials. Toys that are most suitable for them
include approved nontoxic art supplies, books, videos, musical instruments
and outdoor toys such as t-ball stands, slides or swings.
5- to 9-year-olds: In the early part of this age group children
become creative and more physically active. They can write, make arts and
crafts, and are able to use simple mechanical toys such as cars and trains.
Recommended toys include bicycles, crafts, jump ropes, roller skates and
protective gear, puppets, electric trains and sports equipment. Check tape
recorders and battery-operated toys regularly for loose or exposed wires.
10- to 14-year-olds: Children this age enjoy team sports and games
that require increased dexterity such as pick-up sticks, marbles and jacks.
Strenuous physical activity is also popular for this age group. Children
begin to develop hobbies and a strong interest in scientific activities.
For these children, the most appropriate gifts are computers, microscopes,
table and board games, and equipment used in outdoor sports.
Whether you are buying toys for your own children or for family and friends,
this partial list of age-appropriate toys should get you on your way to
a safe and fun holiday season.
For information regarding SAFE KIDS of Georgia, call Laura Fairleigh
at (404) 325-6351. "Wellness" is coordinated by the Seretean Center
for Health Promotion at the Rollins School. Have a topic you'd like to read
or write about? Call 727-2853 or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
to December 1, 1997 Contents Page