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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.


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Safety on Wheels

      Riding bikes can give kids a sense of independence and adventure, yet if misused, bikes can be dangerous. Children often attempt risky stunts and exhibit careless behavior, which can result in tragedy – especially if they fail to take the necessary precaution of wearing a bike helmet to protect them from head injuries.

      Each year, more than 210 children ages 14 and under are killed and more than 360,000 are injured in bicycle-related incidents. Following are safe cycling guidelines recommended by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign:

  • Purchase an approved bicycle helmet for each child. Insist the helmet is worn correctly every time the child goes for a ride. Helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and brain injury by as much as 88 percent. Only buy helmets that meet or exceed safety standards developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

  • Teach children safe bicycling behaviors. Emphasize the fact that a bicycle is a vehicle, not a toy. More than 80 percent of bicycle-related fatalities are associated with the childÕs behavior, including riding into a street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic that is coming from behind, running a stop sign, and riding against the flow of traffic. Check with local safety organizations to find out about bicycle safety days and rodeos, and have your child participate.

  • Make sure the child's bicycle works properly. Are reflectors secure? Test the brakes. Can the child completely grasp hand brakes? Does the bicycle stop right away? Make sure gears shift smoothly and tires are secured tightly and properly inflated.

  • Familiarize yourself with the child's bicycling environment. Encourage the child to bike in safe environments, such as those with bicycle paths.

  • Have your children wear bright colored clothing so drivers can spot them more easily.


For further information, please visit the National SAFE KIDS Campaign's website at: http://www.safekids.org

 



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