Tag Archives: holidays

September Events for the Family

September Kids ActivitiesHere are fun upcoming September Events in and around NYC to help ease the transition to Back-to-School.

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September Activities Kids

Step into the interactive world of the Gazillion Bubble Show and be dazzled by spectacular lasers, lighting effects, and bubble artistry. Book Your Tickets.

 

September Kids Activities

Learn the evolution of firefighting at the New York City Fire Museum from bucket brigades to  volunteering to modern day. The Museum also houses a special memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who sacrificed on 9/11 Schedule Your Tour.

 

September Kids Activities

Karma Kids Yoga is NYC’s only yoga studio dedicated just to kids and families. Children are encouraged to “play” yoga and experience how their breath and body move together.

Sunday Morning Sing-A-Long with Suzanna on Sep 16

Yoga & Essential Oils Workshop for the Family on Sep 22

Pajama Glow-in-the-Dark Yoga! on Sep 28

 

September Kids Activities

Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. Their outreach activities and education programs for children are wonderful opportunities to connect with wildlife.

At the Queens Zoo:

Wildife Mini-Camp: Yom Kippur on Sep 19

Animal Yoga For Families on Sep 30

At the Prospect Park Zoo:

Zoofari Yom Kippur on Sep 19

Breakfast With The Baboons on Sep 22

At the New York Aquarium:

Keeper For A Day: Sharks on Sep 22

Family Overnight: Sharks After Dark on Sep 29

 

September Kids Activities

Taste Buds Kitchen was proclaimed the “Best Kids Cooking Class” by New York Magazine.  Enjoy a variety of unique and creative cooking events for kids and families ages 2 to teen.

Sprinkle Donuts Workshop w/ Caregiver on Sep1

Butterfly Cupcakes Workshop w/ Caregiver on Sep 2

Back-to-School Cupcakes on Sep 8

Grandparents Day Tea Party on Sep 9

Rosh Hashanah: Mystery Basket on Sep 10 or 11

Pretzel Twist Workshop w/ Caregiver on Sep 15

Rainbow Cupcakes Workshop w/ Caregiver on Sep 16

Yom Kippur: Baking 101 on Sep 19

Sushi Rolls Workshop w/ Caregiver on Sep 23

Twist and Twirl Cookies Workshop on Sep 29

Unicorn Cupcakes Workshop on Sep 30

Holiday Help for Picky Kids

snacksPicky eating can be a huge stressor for parents and children alike throughout the year, but it may be particularly pronounced during the holiday season, especially when you’re around relatives who are overly zealous in their advice giving.

Here are 5 tips to get you through the next holiday party with minimal meltdown:

Model healthy eating. While you may not be able to control exactly what your kids are willing to eat, be open to trying new foods yourself! Remarking on your feelings as you scoop an unfamiliar vegetable dish onto your plate, then commenting on the different flavors, can help to reinforce your child’s openness to trying something new, without overtly targeting his or her behavior.

Tell stories. The holiday season is always a time for reflection, and food stories should be no exception. Kids love hearing about their parents’ and relatives’ childhood. Thinking back on stories of your own picky eating – with subsequent discovery of how delicious that food actually tastes – will help to encourage children to create their own narrative. Fun stories about cooking disasters or competitions in the past can also bring a light-hearted mood to food and mealtimes.

Maintain your routine. Parents will often prepare a separate meal for their picky eaters before attending a holiday meal to avoid the food struggle. This may be useful, but it can also backfire and throw your child off their usual eating schedule, leading them to be hungrier later at the party, loading up on the dessert table, and sugar crashing later in the evening. Encourage your child to survey the food options and seek out 1 or 2 items that he or she would be willing to eat. Gently remind them that this is dinner time, and if they don’t eat now they may feel hungry before bed. Even if your child only picks crackers and bread, these are healthier (and reinforce socially healthy behavior of eating with the group!) than skipping dinner and choosing 4 cookies with a slice of cake when the desserts roll out.

Avoid using dessert as a reward. Urging your child to take three bites of broccoli so that they can “earn” dessert sets the foundation for an unhealthy relationship with food. Offer a few choices to your child, particularly foods that they have accepted in the past, and then move on. Remember Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility – as the parent you are responsible for the “what” and “when,” children are responsible for “how much” and “whether” or not they will eat. Dessert may not always be an appropriate option to offer, and that’s okay too!

Mealtimes should not be a battlefield. Ultimately bargaining, cajoling and feeling frustrated with your child’s picky eating may take away from the spirit of the season. Remind your child (and yourself!) that family traditions and holiday parties are more about conversation and connecting with friends and relatives. Food and family meals are a vehicle to facilitate coming together, but shouldn’t overshadow holiday celebrations.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Bridget Murphy, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN is a registered dietitian and clinical nutritionist at the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Tis the Season to Be Healthy: A Guide to Keeping Your Child Safe & Healthy This Holiday Season

cookies-xmasWith the holiday season upon us, here are some important tips to think about for a safe and healthy holiday season.

Check with your pediatrician to make sure your child has received his or her flu shot for the 2017-2018 season.

Keep in mind age appropriate gifts and toys. Games and toys with small parts or batteries should not be gifted to children under three since they are choking hazards.  You may even want to consider the ages of siblings in the house, since there is a good chance that a new crawler or walker could easily get ahold of an older siblings’ new toy.

Decorate safely. If you have a live tree, place it away from fireplaces and heaters, and keep a fire extinguisher close by. Live trees are highly flammable, so don’t forget to keep it hydrated as well.  If you do buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire.  Also, if you have little ones at home, it is important to place all glass ornaments out of reach and secure the tree so it will not topple over if pulled on. Lastly, turn off all lights when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire.

Celebrate safely. Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended.

Continue a healthy sleep schedule. Kids often have slightly altered sleep schedules during the holidays due to vacation and other factors. It is best to continue a sleep schedule as close to their typical routine as possible so that they get an adequate amount of sleep each night.  This will ensure an easy transition back to school when vacation is over.

Keep an eye on the number of holiday treats. It is very easy to get carried away with the number of holiday goodies that kids consume during the next couple weeks.  While some indulging is to be expected, it is important that they still strive for a healthy and balanced diet each day.  Encourage a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day prior to indulging in an extra piece of chocolate or two!

Get up and move around!  Of course it’s cold out, and we’re all so busy, which can make it a little trickier to fit in our daily exercise at this time of the year.  Now’s the time to get creative with exercise! Have a holiday music dance party, bundle up and get outside for a walk in the snow, or just play a game of Simon Says! Even 30 minutes a day has been proven to improve your cardiovascular health.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Lauren Kupersmith, MD, is a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group.

Stranger = Danger…Except for Santa Claus!

santa-blogKids love Santa! He brings them toys, and has great songs and stories that they want to hear over and over. Children often enthusiastically agree to visit Santa to tell him about their Christmas lists. But parents are then confronted with the dilemma of taking said kids to visit Santa only to have the same enthusiasm replaced with tears. There is no shortage of images on the web of children dressed in their holiday best, howling on Santa’s lap with outstretched arms toward a parent who has abandoned them just out of frame. I also remember being wary of a man entering our house unnoticed as a child, even if he was bringing presents. Here are a few tips for parents who want to help their children enjoy this holiday tradition and maybe even ace that holiday photo.

First, recognize that stranger anxiety is a healthy and expected developmental phase for young children. Toddlers and preschoolers are most likely to fear a visit to Santa. As familiar as the character of Santa becomes for young children through stories, images, and songs it still feels jarring to go up to a large man with a face-covering beard, in a loud red costume, and sit on his lap to have a heart to heart. Try to give your child more control in the situation. You can do this by letting them bring a lovey, decide whether they will speak or not, watch older siblings or friends go first, or letting them walk up to Santa and decide if they want to sit or stand.

Second, let your child know what to expect in advance and give them an out at any time. You can even do this by acting it out with your child during play at home. If your child does not feel overwhelmed by the novelty of the situation, he or she is more likely to handle the experience with less fear. The additional control and trust that is established if your child knows he or she can opt out of the Santa meet and greet at any time will also promote bravery and comfort.

Third, approach the event with your own anxiety in check. If you are worried about how your child will react, if it will go well, or if your child will be polite, that worry will register to your child and make them feel there is something to worry about. For example, if you follow the advice above and give your child an out, mention it but do not repeat it with pressured speech every time the line advances forward. After the 5th repetition of “we don’t have to do this if you aren’t ready,” your child will imagine terrible things they SHOULD opt out of at the front of the line and take your cue. Be relaxed, supportive, upbeat and open to hearing what your child is feeling. If you can take the pressure off your child will be more likely to enjoy him or herself.

Finally, don’t sweat it if your child gets upset when the moment arrives. Usually the fear of Santa disappears as children enter elementary school age with no lasting scars of Christmas’ past. And it’s nothing that can’t be soothed with a hug from you and perhaps a hot chocolate on the way home.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Lauren Knickerbocker, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Knickerbocker specializes in treating selective mutism and anxiety in young children, ADHD and difficulties with organization and time management, disruptive behaviors, and parent management training. She is also the co-director of Early Childhood Service at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, a part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.

Holiday Hothead? Tips for Preventing and Managing Your Child’s Holiday Behavior Problems

holiday-upset

It can be the most wonderful time of the year! It can also be a stressful time for parents who worry about how their child will behave at events with family and friends. The hustle and bustle of the season, changes to daily routines, parties, and gifts can contribute to parent-child conflict and meltdowns. The following tips will help you prevent problems and keep the season festive for all.

Anticipate potential problems
Different aspects of the season will be challenging for different children. Take a few minutes to think what parts may be hard for your child. For instance, will your child have trouble playing nicely with the children of relatives and family friends? Do you worry that your child may have tantrums or show disrespect if disappointed about a gift, or test the limits and try to get away with more than what is allowed at home? Problems during holiday travel are also common.

Set up for success
—Playing nicely with others: If your child tends to have trouble playing with others during less structured times, consider planning activities for an event you are hosting, such as cookie decorating, holiday coloring projects, holiday movies, and other games. Try to limit less-structured times if possible. If you are visiting instead of hosting, see if you can bring some activities for all of the children or ones your child can do independently such as stories, paper snowflakes, and coloring books.
—Avoiding meltdowns over gifts: Talk to your child in advance about the reason behind gift giving and the need to be polite to everyone who gives them a gift. Let them know it’s okay to be disappointed, but they still need to show respect. Get them involved in the giving process by picking out gifts for family and friends or donating toys for children less fortunate. Role play situations that may come up, like getting a hand knit sweater instead of that new video game they’ve been wanting.
—Travel tips: If your plans include a lot of travel, consider scheduling it during your child’s nap or at night so they can sleep. You can also bring snacks and toys, sing holiday songs, play games like 20 Questions, and consider using electronics, especially if you have a long flight or drive.
—Testing limits: Decide if it’s realistic and appropriate to use any punishment strategies. Knowing in advance if you will take away privileges or use a timeout will help you avoid making threats that only serve to frustrate you and your child when you cannot follow through.
—Scheduling: For any child who struggles to manage their behavior and emotions, longer days and events will test their resources to keep it together. Consider shortening visits and even saying no to some invites if the day is going to be too action-packed. It’s better to have shorter, more pleasant get-togethers than one that ends in an epic meltdown. If shortening a visit is not an option, see if there is a quieter place in the home for your child to take a couple breaks.
—Have a “worst case scenario” plan: This could be pulling your child aside for a break, having them stay with you if they are having trouble getting along with other children, or even leaving early if you are visiting. Make sure that you are comfortable following through with anything on the plan. Knowing the specific plan will help you feel most prepared.

Review expectations ahead of time
Based on the anticipated problems, let your child know exactly what you expect during holiday visits. Avoid vague expectations such as “Behave” and instead state clearly what behavior you want to see, like “Listen to me,” or “Share toys with other children.” Try to use positive language. Tell your child, “Say thank you for gifts even if it’s not what you were hoping for,” instead of “Don’t be rude.” Choose your battles carefully to focus on the most important goals–which can mean letting go of some limits you normally place. For example, it may not be critical to limit your child to one treat, especially if other children will likely have more and it will be hard for you to fully monitor while spending time with relatives.

During get-togethers
Instead of waiting for the end of a party, try giving frequent spontaneous feedback when you see your child following set expectations to build positive momentum. Make statements such as, “I’m so proud of you for playing nicely,” or “You did a great job being polite to thank grandma for the mittens and hat.” If you start noticing problems, stay as calm as possible (which will help your child stay calm) and use your “worst case scenario” plan. You may feel like other friends and relatives are judging your parenting. Try to remember that every parent has dealt with outbursts and problematic behavior at one point or another; some may just have trouble remembering or feel like they have to share their behavior management tip at an inopportune time.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Stephanie Wagner, Ph.D., is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. She specializes in behavioral treatments for sleep as well as providing psychosocial interventions, including parent training, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), and school consultation to parents and teachers of children with ADHD and disruptive behavior disorders. She is also the co-director of Early Childhood Service at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center.

Starting Holiday Traditions with your Little Ones

 

cookies

It’s that time of year again! Young children are already full of holiday cheer and excitement at the prospect of presents, treats, and more family time. Making new holiday traditions with your toddler (or bringing them into your existing traditions) is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen family bonds and promote their healthy development. Here are few toddler-centered milestones to consider when making your own family traditions for this holiday season.

Independence: To foster the independence that toddlers crave, try giving them a job that makes them feel central to the ritual and they can continue to do every year as they grow. For example, letting them light the candles (with supervision!) on a menorah, advent wreath, angel chimes, or centerpiece before a family meal can make them feel proud to be trusted with such a grown up responsibility. Toddlers just want to feel included and to be able imitate what they see you doing. Another fun tradition could be to bake special cookies together and make your toddler the “Chief Decorator” or “Sprinkles Fairy” to give them their special role. For families considering the long term goals of independence, gifting each child a new ornament every year to eventually move with them to their own homes as adults is a thoughtful and heartfelt tradition.

Empathy building: Toddlers are also the perfect age to learn more about empathy and civic mindedness. They will learn and embody these characteristics best by watching you model these values, and participating in the experience of giving back. Take them to buy a present and bring it to a local charity or event for children who do not have resources. Sing Christmas carols or spend time with the elderly at a local nursing home. Make meals for the homeless. Any volunteer opportunities that are family friendly will benefit the cause you are helping as well as your child’s sense of belonging to a community that values each other.

Family Bonding: Match your family vibe to a tradition that creates warm family connections. Are you a favorite movie with a big blanket and snacks family? A creative family that can make up songs or decorate ornaments together? A family who embodies “the more the merrier” mantra who can host a festive holiday get together? I know many families who create traditions that incorporate games and reading aloud during the lead-up to holidays. One family unwraps a new board game each Christmas Eve and they play all together in their pajamas while they snack on sweets. Another family asks each member to write a letter to the other members to express their love and gratitude for that person or something that happened that year (the two year old dictates hers). The letters end up in their stockings to be read aloud Christmas morning. What a wonderful lesson that would be for little ones learning about gratitude and love for others!

Making Good Memories: Whatever you decide to do to mark the holidays in your home, think about making a family tradition that will feel special and exciting to your little ones. It could be as simple as breaking routine at bedtime to stay up for a special treat or a family sleepover. You want a tradition to stand the test of time as your child grows up and ideally is something everyone looks forward to when the holidays roll around. (This may be a tall order for some adolescents who eye roll their way through family time). Make your traditions and rituals a multi-sensory experience that will make good memories filled with warmth, scents, sounds, tastes, and vibrancy. Fond memories of family holidays are treasured far longer than most gifts we receive. After all, it’s not just about getting matching family pajamas; it’s what you do together while you’re wearing them.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Knickerbocker specializes in treating selective mutism and anxiety in young children, ADHD and difficulties with organization and time management, disruptive behaviors, and parent management training. She is also the co-director of Early Childhood Service at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center.

Happy Holidays from Kidz Central Station!

BackgroundCHRISTMASLIGHTSv2(red)(LS)withHAPPYHOLIDAYS(E)Happy Holidays! We at Kidz Central Station want to thank you, all of our amazing and loyal members, readers, and followers for your support this year, and for helping us make Kidz Central Station the go-to place for finding and enrolling in NYC kids’ activities! It’s been another great year with lots of exciting accomplishments! In 2015:

The site has almost doubled to include over 5,000 classes, camps, and activities!

We’re going international! Launching in early 2016, Kidz Central Station UK will be the go-to website for finding the best kids’ activities in London’s metro area!

We’ve continued to improve the site, based on your feedback! We now have gift cards (a great holiday gift!) as well as a homepage event calendar that makes it even easier for NYC families to find and book classes in music, gymnastics, tennis, and more! Parents also have a range of scheduling options—from semester classes and drop-in activities to holiday camps and theater for kids.

Our team has grown—three new team members joined this year!

We’ve had some amazing press this year! If you missed it, we were featured in The Wall Street Journal and on WPIX 11 News

We hosted tons of awesome events, including pop-up parties with our favorite NYC kids’ programs and a holiday shopping event at Toys “R” Us Times Square with great sponsors, holiday giveaways, and lots of family activities. We can’t wait to host more fun events in 2016!

Thank you for being a part of our success this year—we appreciate all of your support, feedback, and time spent on the site. We wish you a very happy holiday and a wonderful new year—here’s to a fantastic 2016!

Is Santa Real? Tips for Answering the Big Question This Season


The holiday season, while typically a time for celebrations with family and friends, can also be stressful for parents as they scramble to shop for the perfect presents, cook holiday meals, and see extended family. A unique source of concern this time of year involves the dreaded question. I’m not talking about the “Are we there yet?” question from young travelers or the “Do I have to share my new toy?” complaint from siblings. I’m talking about the inquiry into Santa’s existence. Here are some tips for what to do when your child looks you in the eye and asks, “Is Santa real?”

Child development experts typically agree that believing in Santa Claus is not harmful for children. It’s similar to a number of other childhood myths like the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. Myths are fun for children who are developing creativity and imagination. Holiday myths often involve family traditions that bring parents and children together, including visiting and taking pictures with Santa, writing him letters with Christmas lists, and leaving out milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. Most of these traditions foster family togetherness and also offer fun opportunities to work on skills such as writing or baking. For families who do not celebrate Christmas or decide not to go along with the Santa story, there’s no harm in skipping out on this tradition either. There’s plenty of other great ways to foster family traditions and child creativity.

If you are a family who gets a visit from Santa each year, there is no perfect time to break the news to your child. Children question and give up the myth of Santa Claus at different times. Some will ask after talking to other children at school, while others will begin to think critically about the logic. For instance, your child may begin to test the story with questions like “How does Santa fit all the presents in one sleigh?” and “How does he get around the entire world in one night?”

When your child starts asking questions, resist the urge to either cover for Santa with a lie or spill the beans about the myth. Instead, it’s helpful to ask some follow up questions to see what your child knows and wants to believe. While some children logically understand that Santa does not exist, they may not be ready to completely give him up. Your child may ask, “Why does Santa look different in different places?” If your response is, “What do you think?” your child has the opportunity to say, “Well, I think it’s because he’s not real,” indicating she may be ready to give up Santa or “I guess he has helpers,” which suggests she is not yet ready.

When your child’s response suggests that he or she is ready to let go of Santa, consider starting other holiday traditions. This can include shopping and donating gifts for children in need or helping to keep the myth going for younger siblings.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Stephanie Wagner, Ph.D., is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. She specializes in behavioral treatments for sleep as well as providing psychosocial interventions, including parent training, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), and school consultation to parents and teachers of children with ADHD and disruptive behavior disorders. She is also the co-director of Early Childhood Service at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center.

Give a Cheer, Winter Break Camps Are Here!

While we all love the holidays—the lights, the parties, the all-around happiness in the air—when school vacation comes panic often sets in. . . .

“I’m not going away, so what on earth do I do with my kids for two weeks with no school to keep them busy?!?!”

We all love our kids and spending quality time together, but many parents work over school holiday break and don’t get time off, and others simply need time to themselves in order to maintain sanity. Luckily there’s a solution . . . winter break camps!

Kidz Central Station is chock full of winter break activities this year—camps and workshops that last anywhere from a day to a week and offer kids awesome ways to spend their time and parents the peace of mind that their kids are safe and happy while school’s out. Check out a few of our awesome offerings below in neighborhoods throughout NYC, and visit Kidz Central Station for a full listing!

Green Ivy Enrichmentstandard_Cooking_Cookies_6’s Winter Wonderland Camp in Battery Park City is a great drop-off program for kids age 2.5 to 6. Running December 21-23 and December 28-30, each day campers explore winter-themed arts and crafts and enjoy music, theater games, outdoor play (weather permitting of course!), cookie making, and science experiments.

For uptown kids, Art Farm in the City’s winter break program is sure to keep kids busy and having fun! Also running December 21-23 and December 28-30, this camp is split into three different age groups (age 3-4, 4-5, and 5-8) with half- and full-day options available. A day here includes creating artistic masterpieces, baking goodies, and singing favorite songs to a live guitar, as well as lots of playtime with animals!

standard_winter_break_camp_collageBrand new to Kidz Central Station, Kids in the Game is a sports and fitness program that keeps kids active and having fun—and winter break is no different. During this program’s winter break camp, kids age 3-13 can participate in one or two three-day sessions (December 21-23 and December 28-30), and enjoy tons of fun activities, such as fitness games, team sports, arts and crafts, yoga, zumba, and themed days. There is even an after care program, so if you’re a working parent, there’s flexibility in when you can pick kids up!

Located in Soho, Citibabes has a Winter Wonderland Camp that kids are sure to love! Running from 9am-12pm for ages 2 and 3 and from 9am-2pm for older 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds, this camp includes winter-themed activities, science experiments, movement games, dance, music, arts and crafts, and fun on Citibabes’ toasty-warm indoor playground! Like the others, camp runs December 21-23 and December 28-30, so parents are assured plenty of time each week where their children are occupied and having a blast!

Holiday Gift Tips: What You Need to Know About Toy Safety

Kid girl playing toys at home or kindergarten

In my house, holiday time means family, closeness, traditions, good food, and TONS of new toys! While these gifts are fun and exciting for children (and grown-ups!), it’s important to choose toys that are safe and developmentally appropriate. Read on for important tips for choosing the best—and safest—kids’ toys.

Avoid toys with small parts. Young children explore the world through their mouths—you’ve probably noticed that your baby almost immediately puts a new object in her mouth. While this is a normal part of child development, it’s important to ensure that any toys you bring into your home do not pose choking risks for your children. If you have older children, any of their toys with small parts should be placed in a storage bag and clearly labeled. Only allow your child to play with these toys when your little one isn’t around, and place all contents back in the bag and on a high shelf afterward he or she is done playing.

Avoid toys with long strings or cords. Children can accidentally wrap these around their necks, which can cause strangulation. Keep this in mind with mobiles in your child’s crib. Once your child has started to grab for things it is best to remove the mobile.

Buy toys in the United States. The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) closely monitors all toys made in the United States and ensures that they follow strict safety guidelines. All toys made in the United States or imported in after 1995 must comply with these standards.

Avoid toys with small magnets. Magnets used in children’s toys can be very powerful and extremely dangerous if swallowed. If two magnets are swallowed it can lead to intestinal obstruction, injury, and perforation.

Choose age-appropriate toys. Most toys will be labeled with the age that the toy is appropriate for. Follow these guidelines and be realistic about your child’s abilities. Ask family members to choose gifts that are within the age guidelines for your child.

Avoid button batteries. Avoid all toys that are controlled by lithium button battery devices. Ingestion of these batteries is very dangerous, as they can cause severe esophageal burns in as little as two hours. If you suspect your child has ingested a button battery, go to the emergency room immediately.

Don’t forget a helmet for riding toys. Scooters and bicycles can make great holiday presents, but it’s important that your child wears a helmet at ALL times when using them.

Sign up for toy recalls. You can sign up for toy recalls at Safe Kids Worldwide. This way you’ll know if your child’s favorite toy ends up on the recall list.

While toys should be fun, child safety is the number one priority. Play with your child and encourage creativity by using age-appropriate and safe toys. Enjoy this time with your child, and happy holidays!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Deena N. Blanchard, MD, MPH, is a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center and a partner at Premier Pediatrics.