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Health & Parenting

Buying Safe Toys for the Holidays

With so many toy recalls, what's a parent to do? WebMD talked to experts who offered their advice.
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Safe Toys: Widely Available

The good news is that plenty of safe toys are widely available both here and abroad.

You can find a list of companies that report selling American-made toys and products at toysmadeinamerica. This site provides 136 links to toy companies, many of which are small, family-owned businesses.  Some are eco-friendly as well.

For information about buying other products reported to be made in America, visit www.howtobuyamerican.com.

For a self-reported list of products made in Europe, visit www.moolka.com or www.maukilo.com, two online retailers that boast an extensive selection of European-made products for children of all ages, including a variety of jewelry.

Fun suggestions for older kids include acoustic guitars and instruments, scooters, and a wide selection of purses, bags, and wallets.

Safe Toys: Reason for the Season?

What can parents do if their child is wailing for last month's "it" toy, when that item may pose a danger?

Family psychologist John Rosemond, author of Parenting by the Book, says that parents should simply tell kids the truth -- that the toy they want can hurt them.

"Make it simple," he says.  "Today's parents explain things in too wordy a fashion."

Rosemond also believes that most families have far too many toys, anyway -- and most are the wrong kind.

He suggests that parents use this opportunity to get rid of dangerous toys and superfluous ones.  Ideally, kids should have no more than 10 toys at a time -- and as many as possible should be toys that require imagination and creativity.

"I've been telling parents to get rid of 80% of their children's toys long before this controversy started," he says. "They play much more creatively and imaginatively, the fewer toys they have. There is also less sibling conflict and more family, and the kids play for longer periods of time, which means they bug the parents less."

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Reviewed on December 04, 2007

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