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Discerning Gift-Givers Look for Toys That Offer More Than Fun
Date:12/19/2011

nding a 4-year-old out on the street is not."

Hoffman noted that there's another type of gift that's important for kids but often is overlooked because it doesn't seem as "fun" as other options.

"Parents often forget about the impact that reading and books have on children," he said. "That's one of the best things a kid can get." He urged parents interested in their child's development to be sure to give books as gifts.

In terms of toy safety, Gardner and Hoffman emphasized a few key points:

  • Keep choking hazards in mind, particularly for young children and with toys that have small parts. Use a toilet paper tube as a guide: If a piece can fit through the tube, the toy isn't appropriate for small children.
  • Be careful when giving toys that contain small magnets. If more than one is swallowed, the magnets can stick together in the digestive tract and cause tearing of the bowel wall, Gardner said.
  • Toys that shoot missiles or other objects are prime hazards for eye injuries.
  • Be aware that costume jewelry and other low-cost toys can contain lead, particularly if they are imported from another country.
  • Toys with small batteries also should be approached with caution. Tiny lithium batteries can be swallowed and lodge in the esophagus, where they pass a current through the moist membranes. "It actually burns a hole through the esophagus in a two-hour time frame," Gardner said.

More information

To learn more about choosing safe toys, visit the Nemours Foundation.

To read a toy expert's advice for selecting a gift, click here.

SOURCES: Garry Gardner, M.D., chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' council on injury, violence and poison prevention, and Chicago-area pediatrician; B
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