The festive season will soon be upon us and that means spending lots of money on presents for the family.
Shopping for toys during the holidays can be exciting - and also frustrating.
There can be thousands of toys to choose from in one store, which makes it difficult to pick the right toy for the right age.
Toys meant for older children can be dangerous for younger children.
So if you intend buying toys for your children soon, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:
lChildren under three tend to put everything in their mouths. So it is important to avoid buying toys intended for older children that might have small parts toddlers can choke on.
l Never let children of any age play with un-inflated or broken balloons because they can easily choke on them.
Also try to avoid marbles and games with very small balls for the same reason.
lChildren aged between three and five enjoy pulling, prodding and twisting toys.
So look for toys that are well-made, with tightly secured eyes, noses and other parts. Avoid toys with sharp edges and points.
l Avoid toys that are constructed from thin, brittle plastic that might easily break into small pieces or leave jagged edges.
lInspect household art materials, including crayons and paint sets, to make sure that they have been checked by a toxicologist and, if necessary, labelled with cautionary information.
lAll toys should be inspected periodically for breakage and potential hazards.
Damaged or dangerous toys should be repaired or thrown away.
lIf you want to buy a toy gun be sure that it is brightly coloured so that it cannot be mistaken for the real thing.
lIf you buy a bicycle for any child, buy a helmet too and make sure the child wears it.
lTeach children to put toys away when they have finished playing so that no one can trip over them.
lMost of all ensure that the gift you buy is what your child really wants - otherwise you'll be very unpopular.