With holiday toy shopping just getting underway, here are six tips that remind gift-givers to keep safety in mind when selecting toys for preschoolers. Many of these tips come from the American Academy of Ophthalmology www.eyenet.org
- Select only toys and gifts that are appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level. Check the packaging for age recommendations.
- Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
- Check labels for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approval to be sure toys meet national safety standards.
- BB, paint or pellet guns and airpower rifles are classified as firearms and make dangerous gifts in homes where there are preschoolers, even if the gift is intended for an older child. Similarly, darts and bows and arrows are also dangerous when they fall into the hands of a young child.
- Younger children are now participating in sports such as baseball, football, hockey and soccer. If you are giving sports equipment, make sure to include the appropriate protective headgear such as helmets and facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses.
- A picture book, whether an older classic or one of the newer additions to bookstore shelves, is always a safe and welcome gift. Reading the story to the child will add so much value to the gift…it costs you nothing, but means the world to the listener. Choosing which book can be a daunting task. There are several sources you can consult. THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK by Jim Trelease is an excellent guide. You can also check out The New York Times Parents Guide to the Best Books for Children and quite a few other resources for choosing books for children at LibraryThing http://www.librarything.com/work/273100 For a list of 100 picture books every preschooler needs to hear, find a copy of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING. This ultimate resource for parents and teachers of preschoolers also provides a story summary, parenting note, eco-friendly craft project and child-friendly healthful cooking activity for each recommended title. http://www.amazon.com/Self-Esteem-Through-Reading-Crafting-Cooking/dp/0967014751/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289532916&sr=1-1