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Safety at Play

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

Children don't have a fully developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development better than toys that involve hand-eye coordination and a deeper understanding of spatial relationships. Ideal toys for stimulating a baby's sight in his or her first year include geometric mobiles or bright primary colors and activity mats that have interactive or removable objects, puppets and balls. In the first three months of life, babies can't entirely see color, so simple black and white pictures are really great for their age group.

Because children spend a large amount of their day playing with their toys, parents need to check that their toys are safe for both their overall health, and their sight. A toy that is not age appropriate is often not a great choice. And it is just as important to make sure that the toy is suited to their level of development. Although companies specify targeted age groups on toy packaging, you still need to make the call, and prevent your son or daughter from playing with toys that may lead to eye injury or vision loss.

A wonderful toy for lots of age groups is blocks, but for younger children, you need to inspect them for sharp edges, to reduce the chance of eye injury. Also, make judgements based on toy size. If you have little children a toy that is mouth size is not recommended. It's advised to put small toys aside until your son or daughter is more appropriately aged.

Don't buy toys that have points or edges or any sharp parts for little ones, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the end is rounded. Closely watch toddlers when they play with those kinds of toys.

If your child is under 6, avoid toys which shoot, like slingshots. Even if a child is old enough to play with such toys, you still need to closely watch children playing with those kinds of toys. On the other hand, when it comes to older kids who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they are wearing correct safety eyewear.

So the next time you're considering a gift, pay attention to the age and developmental recommendations on toys. Make sure that toys you buy won't pose any risk to your child's eyes - even if it looks like lots of fun.

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