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Safety at Play

Of course, moms and dads are concerned with keeping their kids' eyes safe. But it can be a challenge to know how to choose the toys that are the safest and most beneficial.

Infants are born with only semi-formed vision. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development more efficiently than toys and activities that encourage hand-eye coordination and a clearer understanding of spaces and distances between objects. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can't totally differentiate between colors, so objects with bold, black and white pictures can be stimulating for them.

Since kids spend a large amount of their day engaged in play with toys, it is up to us to check that their toys are safe for their eyes as well as their overall safety. To be safe, toys should be right for their age group. And it is just as important to make sure that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Although toy manufacturers include age and developmental appropriateness on packaging, as a parent, you still need to be alert, and prevent your son or daughter from playing with anything that might cause an injury or vision loss.

Blocks are great for almost every age group, but for younger children, you need to check that they have no sharp edges and corners, to reduce the possibility of harm. Toy size is another important thing to take note of. If you have small children any object that is small enough to fit in their mouth is not recommended. It's best to put small toys aside until your son or daughter is older.

Don't buy toys with edges or any sharp parts for a young child, and be sure 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.

For children below 6, avoid toys which shoot, such as dart guns. Always pay attention with those kinds of toys. Whereas, for older kids who enjoy chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they are wearing protective eyewear.

So the next time you're shopping for a gift, pay attention to the toy makers' advice about the intended age range for the toy you had in mind. Ensure that there's no danger posed to your child.