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Safety at Play

It's of paramount importance for parents to know what sorts of toys are the safest and the most beneficial for kids.

Babies don't have a properly developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development better than toys and activities that involve hand-eye coordination and a deeper understanding of spatial relationships. Ideal toys for stimulating a baby's visual development in his or her first year include mobiles with geometric patterns or colors, and play mats that have interactive or removable objects, puppets and books. Until they're 3 months old, babies can't fully differentiate between colors, so high contrast black and white images of things like shapes and simple patterns are particularly helpful for encouraging visual development.

Children spend a lot of time with toys, so it's important to check those toys are safe. Children should play with toys that are made for their specific age group. Don't forget to be sure that the toy is suited to their developmental stage. Despite the fact that toy manufacturers indicate targeted age groups on toy packaging, it's still important for you to be alert, and not permit your son or daughter to play with anything that might cause an injury or vision loss.

A wonderful toy for lots of age groups is blocks, but for younger children, you need to check that they have no sharp edges and corners, to lessen the chance of any kind of injury. You also need take note of toy size. With toddlers, any item that can fit into their mouths is not recommended. Put that small item far out of reach until your son or daughter is no longer at risk of choking.

Stuffed, plush toys should be machine washable, and, especially when it comes to smaller children, without any very small parts to pull off, like buttons or ribbons. Steer clear of toys that have points or edges or sharp components for a young child, and be sure that long-handled toys such as pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6, stay clear of toys projectiles, such as slingshots. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to supervise children playing with toys like that. Whereas, if you have teens who have chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they wear correct safety eyewear.

So when looking to buy gifts for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, pay attention to the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Ensure that there's no harm posed to your child's eyes.