Things to keep in mind when buying toys this holiday season

Odds are Santa Claus and his elves are busy these days, busy taking instructions – safety be damned – from the toy lobby to create shiny gifts all of the kids want to find underneath their tree come Christmas morning. With this in mind, a recently released study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio highlights the dangers of toys. Leading the list of toy-related injuries is foot-powered scooters, which researchers say are responsible for a 40 percent increase in the rate of kids going to the emergency room. Cleveland Clinic Children’s Dr. Sara Lappe told VOXXI, “Pretty much that if you’re going to buy your kids any kind of gift that has wheels, make sure they have a helmet along with it. And make sure they wear the helmet all of the time. SEE ALSO: This household product is poisoning thousands of children “I think a lot of parents see tricycles and little things as not bikes so they don’t think about the fact that you need to have a helmet or supervision when they’re being used.” Although Dr. Lappe didn’t participate in the study, she has greater concerns about children and toys that go well beyond safety. For toddlers to preschoolers, she advocates parents avoid anything electronic or with a screen. “There’s so much evidence out there that exposure to screens causes so many problems, whether it’s obesity and behavior problems, sleep problems, school performance problems and IQ,” Dr. Lappe said. “It’s astonishing the data that’s out there.” The current recommendation is children under the age of 2 shouldn’t be exposed to any toy, device or tablet with a screen. For kids ages 3 to 5, the rule of thumb is less than an hour a day of use. And for elementary-age school kids, it’s less than two hours a day. “Particularly in young age, under 2 or 3, if they’re sitting in front of a screen, they’re not learning the other skills they need to be learning,” Dr. Lappe sad. “They need to be interacting with the world and not looking at it on a screen. Tactile things like puzzles or building blocks as an activity are good. “Or reading a book, interacting with a book, not on a screen. Their cognitive development, as well as their motor development, is impaired when they spend too much time in front of screens. And then it’s also the habits they develop that will be the most sedentary behaviors.” SEE ALSO: What your ethnicity may say about your child’s diet As for other gift warnings regarding older kids, Dr. Lappe points to current events as an impetus to avoid BB guns or weapons that look real. “Headphones are another thing,” Dr. Lappe said. “If they’re going to be listening to music, make sure it’s not loud. They do make headphones that are noise regulated. We know that adolescents that listen to loud music with headphones, they can have hearing loss.” Instead, the suggestion is to give toys and gifts that stimulate the mind, such as Legos. She pointed out buying the generic Lego kits are better because they promote creativity. Invariably, Dr. Lappe acknowledges her gift ideas may come across as boring. In fact, she admits to being the aunt in her family whose nephews always receive the non-shiny but highly educational gifts.   “It’s kind of trying to find that balance of not giving into too much of the marketing but it’s hard,” Dr. Lappe said. “My nephews are 5 and all they want are video games. I’m that aunt, with my own kids too. “You can find stuff, whether it’s the stuff that has the superheroes on it but it doesn’t have to be the electronic stuff. We need to stay away from the electronic stuff.” Finally, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital study offers these tips to parents and child caregivers: Follow age restrictions and other manufacturer guidelines for all toys. Examine toys for small parts that could be choking hazards for young children. Use riding toys on dry, flat surfaces away from vehicle traffic. Closely supervise any child who is younger than 8 years of age on a riding toy. Wear helmets, kneepads, and elbow pads on scooters and other riding toys with wheels. Check Recalls.gov to see if toys that you own or may buy have been recalled.The post Things to keep in mind when buying toys this holiday season appeared first on Voxxi.

Experts want you to keep some tips in mind when buying toys this holiday season. (Shutterstock)

Odds are Santa Claus and his elves are busy these days, busy taking instructions – safety be damned – from the toy lobby to create shiny gifts all of the kids want to find underneath their tree come Christmas morning.

With this in mind, a recently released study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio highlights the dangers of toys. Leading the list of toy-related injuries is foot-powered scooters, which researchers say are responsible for a 40 percent increase in the rate of kids going to the emergency room.

Cleveland Clinic Children’s Dr. Sara Lappe told VOXXI, “Pretty much that if you’re going to buy your kids any kind of gift that has wheels, make sure they have a helmet along with it. And make sure they wear the helmet all of the time.

SEE ALSO: This household product is poisoning thousands of children

“I think a lot of parents see tricycles and little things as not bikes so they don’t think about the fact that you need to have a helmet or supervision when they’re being used.”

Although Dr. Lappe didn’t participate in the study, she has greater concerns about children and toys that go well beyond safety. For toddlers to preschoolers, she advocates parents avoid anything electronic or with a screen.

“There’s so much evidence out there that exposure to screens causes so many problems, whether it’s obesity and behavior problems, sleep problems, school performance problems and IQ,” Dr. Lappe said. “It’s astonishing the data that’s out there.”

The current recommendation is children under the age of 2 shouldn’t be exposed to any toy, device or tablet with a screen. For kids ages 3 to 5, the rule of thumb is less than an hour a day of use. And for elementary-age school kids, it’s less than two hours a day.

“Particularly in young age, under 2 or 3, if they’re sitting in front of a screen, they’re not learning the other skills they need to be learning,” Dr. Lappe sad. “They need to be interacting with the world and not looking at it on a screen. Tactile things like puzzles or building blocks as an activity are good.

“Or reading a book, interacting with a book, not on a screen. Their cognitive development, as well as their motor development, is impaired when they spend too much time in front of screens. And then it’s also the habits they develop that will be the most sedentary behaviors.”

SEE ALSO: What your ethnicity may say about your child’s diet

As for other gift warnings regarding older kids, Dr. Lappe points to current events as an impetus to avoid BB guns or weapons that look real.

“Headphones are another thing,” Dr. Lappe said. “If they’re going to be listening to music, make sure it’s not loud. They do make headphones that are noise regulated. We know that adolescents that listen to loud music with headphones, they can have hearing loss.”

Instead, the suggestion is to give toys and gifts that stimulate the mind, such as Legos. She pointed out buying the generic Lego kits are better because they promote creativity.

Invariably, Dr. Lappe acknowledges her gift ideas may come across as boring. In fact, she admits to being the aunt in her family whose nephews always receive the non-shiny but highly educational gifts.

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“It’s kind of trying to find that balance of not giving into too much of the marketing but it’s hard,” Dr. Lappe said. “My nephews are 5 and all they want are video games. I’m that aunt, with my own kids too.

“You can find stuff, whether it’s the stuff that has the superheroes on it but it doesn’t have to be the electronic stuff. We need to stay away from the electronic stuff.”

Finally, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital study offers these tips to parents and child caregivers:

  • Follow age restrictions and other manufacturer guidelines for all toys.
  • Examine toys for small parts that could be choking hazards for young children.
  • Use riding toys on dry, flat surfaces away from vehicle traffic.
  • Closely supervise any child who is younger than 8 years of age on a riding toy.
  • Wear helmets, kneepads, and elbow pads on scooters and other riding toys with wheels.
  • Check Recalls.gov to see if toys that you own or may buy have been recalled.
  • The post Things to keep in mind when buying toys this holiday season appeared first on Voxxi.