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Tips For Toy Safety
by Marjorie Dorfman

Some of the thoughts about toy safety that are suggested here may seem too obvious to mention. If so, that may be because they involve common sense, an idea little accepted by most of mankind. Read on anyway. You may be surprised at what lurks just beyond the doorway of your very own home.

This article may be light-hearted, but it is intended to illustrate the importance of maintaining toy safety in the home.

When I took my driver’s test many years ago, I remember studying the manual for road safety and underlining the important points as I read along. One of the advisements to prospective drivers was a warning not to park at any time for any reason on the railroad tracks! Some rules for the toy safety road may hit you in this same way, but do your children a favor and read them anyway.

Rule Number 1

Be careful where toys are left in your house. Never leave them where they cannot be seen or can be accidentally tripped over. Choose a safe storage place. Dark corners and the top of the stairs are not viable options unless a relative you don’t like is planning an unwanted visit to your home. You might consider breaking this rule then, but tread lightly, and only if you think you can get away with it.

Rule Number 2

Never give children of any age toys that have sharp objects or edges. (If you are having trouble understanding why, perhaps you might gain some insight by parking for an hour or so on any active railroad track near your home.)

Rule Number 3

Make sure toys are always age appropriate. A child who loves horses will rarely appreciate a toy or book focussed on saving the whales or playing with piggy. Also, toys for an older child should never be left with a younger child. If you are a child at heart or even just resonably immature, these tasks might prove difficult, but force yourself to do your best.

Rule Number 4

Read the instructions carefully and keep them in a place where you are likely to find them again. Of course, if they are not written in English, it doesn’t really matter where you put them. This happened to my father a long time ago, when he purchased a rocking-horse for my sister and I one Christmas. He tried desperately to insert flap A into flap C many times from Japanese to English before giving up and throwing everything out the back porch window where the neighbors wouldn’t notice or hear him screaming.

Rule Number 5

Children should never be left alone with toys. Always supervise your children and set good play examples. Play with them, which will come easy to you if you are subject to the weaknesses mentioned in rule number 3.

Rule Number 6

Discard broken toys. Even if you are the kind of person who never throws anything out, make an exception in this case (especially if you broke the damn thing in the first place).

Rule Number 7

Make sure children wear proper equipment while operating all toys. Helmets are in order even while playing computer games. After all, who can faithfully measure how far a computer with a chip on its shoulder may go? Better to be on the safe side. (Gloves and mufflers might be applicable here as well. After all, one can never be too safe.)

The issue of common sense works for all things, including the enjoyment of toys. Be aware always because the child whose life you save may very well be your own.

Did you know . . .

Copyright 2005