Tag Archives: toys

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.

5 Ways to Get Organized This Spring

Spring cleaning exists for a reason—after a long dreary winter it’s the perfect time for a fresh start and to re-organize and re-energize your family’s life. While cleaning out closets and re-arranging drawers of clothes isn’t as fun as a day at the park, once you’ve done it you can move on and enjoy the warmer weather and your newfound decluttered life! So here are five easy ways to declutter your life and get organized this spring.

Clothing first. If your drawers are on the verge of exploding or your closet door barely closes, it might be time to organize your clothes and give away/throw out what you aren’t wearing. The best way to proceed: make three piles. To keep, to give away, and to throw out—and be as aggressive as you can with the latter two piles. If you haven’t worn something in two years, there’s a good chance you won’t wear it in the next two. The same goes for your kids’ closets and drawers. If your child has outgrown last season’s threads, pack them neatly away in a plastic container for a sibling, hand it all down to a friend, or donate to someone in need. Clothing seems to be something most people need to diligent about organizing every once in a while.

Which brings us to the next tip: donate! Bring all of the clothing, shoes, and more that you and your little ones aren’t wearing anymore to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Not only will there be more room in your closet, but these unwanted items will go to people who really need them. The same goes for books, gently used toys, and anything else that you don’t need, but someone else might.

Organize those toys (as best as you can). While it seems as if kids’ toys are meant to be messy—since the minute you put them away they somehow creep back into a big brightly-colored mess—do your best to keep them contained. Literally. The Container Store sells plastic bins of all shapes and sizes, perfect for storing everything from games to train sets to books. Amazon is also a great site for finding storage units that will give every puzzle, block, and dolly its rightful place. We promise—once your toys are neatly organized, you’ll feel like your house or apartment is twice its current size.

Clean up after yourself. The chaotic messes in your home usually don’t form all at once, but bit by bit. The sippy cup on the coffee table, the dog toys strewn all over the floor, the towel you meant to throw in the hamper. After you’ve cleaned it all up, make a conscious effort to put things away as you use them—to prevent the mess from happening in the first place.

One room at a time. Don’t feel like you need to attack every room in your house or apartment in one day—take it one room at a time and one day at a time. Especially when you have kids, decluttering your entire living space can seem incredibly daunting if you pressure yourself to get it all done in a matter of hours or within a weekend. Set goals for when you have a little time here and there—when your little one is taking a nap, get started on your bedroom. On a rainy afternoon, get your kitchen in order and spray down every surface in your living room. Once you’ve hit every room, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful days of spring.