Gift Shopping for the Kids: Focus on Quality, not Quantity
"You can go to discount retailers, and there’s a bunch of great-looking toys being sold cheaply, but you don’t know where they’re coming from," she warns. "Shop at reputable toy companies. One good gift is probably fine. Just remember, you’re not telling your child you love them with presents."
Other things, like toy guns, she says, present a judgment call for parents in what kind of message they’re sending to their children.
If you’re the one hosting the gathering where young children will be present, Dr. Alpert advises thinking long and hard about things like goodie bags and whether the contents will be safe for all the children involved. Many party favors tend to have small parts.
A simple alternative to small toys can be something as simple as non-toxic crayons and activity books, she says.
Another good idea when heading out to shop for toys and gifts is to check with consumer reporting agencies’ Web sites to make sure there are no toy recalls associated with the items on your list. Just because something is being sold on the shelves doesn’t mean it’s risk-proof.
Other toys or gifts may just present inherent risk. Big fad items may not be appropriate for all ages. Dr. Alpert cites the example of injuries sustained by children wearing roller shoes marketed by Heelys, Inc., which were the subject of studies published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
"Overall, as a parent, you want to stick with age appropriate gifts and be aware of recalls," Dr. Alpert says. "You also have to be there when your kids are opening gifts to make that judgment call as to whether the item is appropriate for your child."
To find a local pediatrician, visit www.whhs.com and click on "Find a Physician." If you would like to learn more about services and programs available at Washington Hospital, go to the Home page and click on "Services & Programs."
To see health-related programming 24-hours a day, tune into InHealth, a Washington Hospital channel, on Comcast Cable channel 78.
Infant-Child CPR Class
Washington Hospital offers an American Heart Association course focusing on instructing adults on how to relieve choking and how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on infants and young children. The next sessions will be held Thursday, Dec. 18, and Saturday, Dec. 20.
For more information call Washington Hospital’s Childbirth and Family Services at (510) 791-3423.