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Playing Safe

It's crucial to know how to select toys that are the safest and the most beneficial for kids.

Babies are born with an only partially developed visual system. Few things stimulate a child's visual development better than playing, which involves hand-eye coordination and a clearer understanding of spatial relationships. In the initial three months of life, babies can't totally differentiate between colors, so objects with bold, black and white pictures can be really beneficial.

Children spend a large amount of time playing with their toys, so it's good for parents to know if those toys are safe or not. Children should be given toys designed for their own age group. And it is just as important to check that toys are developmentally appropriate, too. Despite the fact that companies print age and developmental appropriateness on toy packaging, it is up to you to be responsible, and make sure your son or daughter doesn't play with something that might be unsafe.

Steer clear of toys with edges or any sharp parts for little kids, and check that long-handled toys such as pony sticks or toy brooms have rounded handles. Closely watch toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6, avoid toys with flying parts, such as arrows. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to supervise kids playing with those kinds of toys. Whereas, for teens who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they are wearing safety goggles.

So the next time you're shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, pay attention to the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Ensure that there's no danger posed to your child's eyes - even if your child really wants it.

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