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K-5th Grade
5th-7th Grade
I keep seeing award stickers on toy packages. If I buy a toy that has an award sticker on the box does that mean other similar toys are not as good? What guidelines can I follow for choosing a good toy?

Lauren, Miami, FL
Mom of Rachel (7), Sofi (6) and Naomi (2)
Use them as a guide and follow 3 easy steps before making a decision on what to buy?

1.Analyze: What does the child have already? (Stacks of board games, tubs of building blocks, shelves of books) Take a quick INVENTORY of your child’s collection and see if there is a type of toy missing from the playroom. A new kind of toy will trigger interest and intrigue once opened!
2.Simplify- Parents “think” kids need a lot of toys, then regret having so many around the house! It is best to have a variety of TOY TYPES, so a child uses a range of developmental skills.
3.Magnify: It is imperative that toys are chosen which are age-appropriate and are of interest to a child. Choose toys that "MAGNIFY’ a child’s current skills and challenges those they need to work on.


Creating a Safe Haven For Your Baby

For new parents, a baby’s safety is one of the most important priorities. Most infants’ very early years are spent primarily in the home. But what many new parents fail to realize is that the home can be one of the most dangerous places for a child, and one of the most dangerous pieces of baby furniture is the crib. In fact, approximately 35 infants die each year from crib-related incidents. To help prevent your child being injured in the crib, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends the following:

Purchase a crib that has been certified to meet national safety standards. Look for a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification label. Handing down a crib from one generation to another may carry sentimental value, but older cribs do not always meet today’s safety standards.

Choose a crib with no more than 2 3/8 inches of space between the slats or spindles. Be sure there are no missing or loose slats or spindles -- the baby’s head can get caught, presenting a strangulation hazard.

Test the drop side latches to ensure that the baby cannot open them. Be sure they work properly and are safe from unintentional release.

Always keep the side rail locked in its top position when the baby is in the crib.

Use vinyl or cloth bumper pads to keep the baby from hitting against the side of the crib. Secure the pads with snaps or at least six straps tied securely on the outside of the crib, away from the baby. Trim the excess straps to less than 7 inches so that they are not a strangulation or choking hazard. As soon as the baby can pull up or stand, remove the bumper pads, toys and other objects that could be used to climb out of the crib.

Do not use a crib that has any corner post extensions or protrusions greater than 1/16 inch, including decorative knobs.

Never use a pillow in the crib and make sure no soft bedding, plastic bags or other plastic materials are in or around the crib.

Do not place the crib near radiators, heating vents, windows, window blind strings, drapery cords or other hanging strings.

Always place babies on their backs when putting them to sleep.

For further information, please visit the National SAFE KIDS Campaign's website at:

How To...

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