TOYS CAN provide children
(and adults) with untold
hours of delight. But the
U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission (www.
cpsc.gov) estimates that
about 150,000 children are
treated for toy-related
injuries each year. The
the following simple yet
vital toy safety tips, to help
assure that the toys given
to children this holiday
season will be safe ones.
For children 3 and
younger, avoid toys with
small parts, which can
Select toys to suit the
age, abilities, skills and
interest level of the
For children under 8,
avoid toys with sharp
edges and electric toys
with heating parts.
Look for labels with
age and safety advice.
To learn more about
toy safety, call the
real-life Tips for buying
the right toys this
toy storyBy Will Fifield
MIKE CRESS Y
EVER WALK DOWN a toy aisle
to buy a gift for one or more
children and become completely
dumbfounded? Even if you know the
children really well—even if you are buying something for your own kids—it can be
a daunting task. You want to buy that “just
right” gift, but you’re overwhelmed with
the abundance of cool games, gadgets,
dolls and other stuff that you never
even knew existed.
To help Costco members avoid
this scenario, The Connection
asked some toy-industry experts
but he says carefully considering this question will
steer you toward important considerations, such as
age and gender appropriateness and if the toy in
question accomplishes the goal you had in mind
when buying it. Does it educate? Does it entertain?
Marianne Szymanski, a Costco member and publisher of Toy Tips Magazine (
www.toytips.com) recommends making a list, complete with each child’s
name, age, skills and interests. Szymanski, whose
favorite toy as a child was her Raggedy Ann doll, says
the list will help you find the right gift, especially
if you have to resort to Plan B because an item you
had in mind is unavailable.
Have a goal
Tim Walsh, author of Timeless
Toys (Andrews McMeel Publishing,
2005), who, as a child, loved spinning
doughnuts on his Big Wheel, says successful toy
shopping begins before you leave the house.
“The key question to ask is, Who are you buying for?” Walsh says. His advice may seem obvious,
Toy tip: Dig hard to find
the child’s real interests,
and buy gifts accordingly.
Quiz the parents
If you aren’t very often around the children you
are buying toys for, you’ll need to do a little homework to learn about their likes and dislikes. Costco
member Stevanne “Dr. Toy” Auerbach (www.drtoy.
com), a syndicated columnist and author of many
books about buying toys, says quizzing the child’s
parents is the best place to start.
“Parents know what their children are currently
playing with,” says Auerbach, who spent untold hours