Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 13, 2012
Buying the right Christmas gifts for babies

Christmas is arriving. It’s the most beautiful season of the year, especially for our babies. It may be a lot of work to complete the holiday’s shopping list. Knowing what to buy and what your babies may like can be hard. It’s also important to know which toys are the best and more importantly, the safest.

There are several healthy tips on how to choose toys that will help your babies improve their development and keep them safe. It is important for parents to be educated consumers. This information is valuable because it can help you when making your purchases for the holiday season.

When you are choosing toys for babies, you must remember that they explore and enjoy the world primarily with the help of their five senses.

Babies typically prefer objects with bright colors, high contrast, simple designs and clear lines. Books with facial expressions will help stimulate your baby’s brain.

Your baby’s exploratory efforts will be rewarded with both sounds and movement. Remember to let your baby explore various textures. Think soft, smooth, fluff, and fuzzy.

Look for toys that will be easy to hold so your baby can get a good grasp. As soon as they’re able, babies use their mouths to explore their world. Fortunately, there are plenty of baby toys today designed with this in mind.

Always remember when it comes to toys and ultimately, learning, active play always wins out over passive entertainment such as watching television. Although newborns certainly won’t be getting a full workout just yet, they will be moving more in a matter of few months. As they do, offer toys that they can reach for and hold, look at, listen to, wave, shake, chew on and make noise. An activity mat that you put on the floor can make an excellent fitness center for your baby as she learns about the textures and sounds of different objects. This will also help her work on her depth perception skills by trying to grab items such as hanging rings and plastic mirrors.

In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics was successful in advocating for new Consumer Product Safety Commission safety standards for children’s products and toys that contain magnets. These new standards help keep children safe by ensuring that magnets in children’s products will not fall out or become dislodged. This decreases the risk of loose magnets being swallowed by young children.

Finally, be sure to offer toys to your baby that are at an appropriate level for development. It is always a good idea to see the manufacturer recommendations, since they have to go through inspections and get the advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics before they are released.

If a toy is too advanced or too simplistic for a child, they will quickly lose interest or become frustrated. You may love the idea of building Legos together, but you have to make sure that your child has achieved the required dexterity or self-control to avoid eating the pieces to make them a good fit.


C. Marila Taveras began medical school at age 16 and has been in practice for 15 years. She received her training at a Cornell University-affiliated hospital in New York City and was a researcher at Columbia University. She is the supervising pediatrician at Tooele Pediatrics.

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