Thursday, July 30, 2009

A couple dollars and a little time = a priceless memory.

Rick sent me these photos last night. Look at the expression on his 21 month old son Bobby. Bobby loved the animated movie Cars. Rick used my pattern and some scrap wood to build these toys. He also designed his own "Mater" pick-up truck from the movie. I would say that was money and time well spent. I bet Bobby agrees.

We are so blasted with high tech toys and over priced gadgets on television that it's easy to forget that a simple hand made gift can be even more appreciated sometimes.

Use you skill as a craftsman/artist to build someone you love a gift. Okay, not everyone will be as excited as Rick's son was but you never know when you will create a life long memory.

Thanks Rick for allowing me to share these photos. They made my day.

The following text is from the American Academy of Pediatrics. It has some great guidelines for safe toys. I thought it would be appropriate to add this to the post. Making toys for small children carries a responsibility to protect them from accidents. My patterns are designed for adults.

Choosing Safe Toys

Children love to play with toys. Toys can be a great way for children to learn about themselves and their world and to develop their skills. As a parent, you are responsible for ensuring that your child's toys are safe and appropriate for his age. The following guidelines can help you make decisions about what toys are best suited for your child.

1. Read the label before buying the toy. Warning labels provide important information about how to use a toy, what ages the toy is safe for, and whether adult supervision is recommended. Be sure to show your child how to use the toy properly.

2. Think LARGE when it comes to choosing toys. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child's mouth to prevent choking. Avoid small toys intended for older children that could fit into your child's mouth. This will decrease the risk of choking.

3. Avoid toys that shoot small objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.

4. Avoid toys that make loud or shrill noises to help protect your child's hearing. Ask to try the toy in the store. Check the loudness of the sound it makes. Don't buy toys that may be too loud for your child's sensitive hearing.

5. Look for sturdy toy construction. When buying a soft toy or stuffed animal, make sure the eyes, nose and any other small parts are secured tightly. Make sure it is machine washable. Check to see that seams and edges are secure. Remove loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys containing small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.

6. Watch out for sharp points or edges and toys made from thin plastic or other material that may break easily. Don't buy toys with metal parts for a baby or toddler. If your older child plays with darts or arrows, make sure they have blunt tips made of soft rubber or flexible plastic. Tips should be securely fastened.

7. Avoid toxic items and materials that could cause poisoning. Look for paint sets, crayons and markers that are labeled nontoxic. Small batteries are not only toxic, but they also can pose a choking or swallowing hazard.

8. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years old. If these kits are purchased for older children (12 to 15 years of age), make sure you provide proper supervision and store them out of reach of young children.

9. Electric toys should be "UL Approved." Check the label to make sure the toy is approved by the Underwriters Laboratories.

10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Strings or wires that hang in a crib should be kept short. They may pose a serious strangulation hazard when a child begins to crawl or stand. Remove crib gyms and mobiles as soon as your child can push up on her hands and knees.

11. Choose a toy chest carefully. Look for smooth, finished edges that are nontoxic. If it has a lid, make sure it is sturdy, with locking supports and safe hinges. It should stay open in any position and hinges should not pinch your child's skin. The chest also should have ventilation holes to prevent suffocation if your child becomes trapped inside. The best toy chest is a box or basket without a lid.

Age recommendations

Age recommendations printed on toy packages are very important. They reflect the safety of a toy based on four categories. These include:

* The safety aspects of the toy and any possible choking hazards
* The physical ability of the child to play with the toy
* The ability of a child to understand how to use a toy
* The needs and interests at various levels of a child's development

These recommendations are based on general developmental levels of each age group. However, every child is different. What is right for one child may not suit the skills and needs of another. Match the toy to your child's abilities. A toy that is too advanced or too simple for your child may be misused, which could lead to an injury.

Despite your best efforts to choose the safest toy for your child, injuries can sometimes still happen. One of the best ways to prevent toy injuries is by properly supervising children's play. Also keep in mind these additional tips:

* Keep all toys with small parts away from your young child until he learns not to put them in his mouth, usually by about the age of 5 years.
* Keep uninflated and broken balloons away from children of all ages, as they are a serious choking hazard. When a child tries to inflate a balloon, he can easily inhale it. Also, never allow a child to place an inflated balloon in his mouth.
* To prevent injuries, stop reckless or improper play. Make sure your child never plays with toys near stairs, traffic or swimming pools.

Store Toys Properly

* Store toys on a shelf or in a toy chest. They should be out of the way and off the floor, to avoid being stepped on or tripped over. A toy designed for an older child should be stored far out of reach of a curious toddler.
* Teaching your child to pick up and put toys away will help him learn to become responsible for his belongings.
* Never store a toy in its original packaging. Staples can cause cuts and plastic wrap can lead to choking or suffocation. To avoid injuries, immediately discard toy packaging before giving a new toy to your baby or toddler.

Keep Toys In Good Condition

* Make sure you examine toys regularly. Look for damaged or broken parts that may pose a hazard. Look for splinters on wooden toys, loose eyes or small parts on dolls, rips or exposed wires in stuffed animals, or rust on metal toys.
* Never leave metal toys outside overnight. Rain, snow or even dew may cause them to rust. Repair or replace any broken parts.
* If you're ever in doubt about a toy's safety, throw it away.

© Copyright 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics

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