The Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has advised parents on how to buy toys for their children.
The initiative is aimed at increasing awareness among consumers on selecting the appropriate toys for kids depending on their age and other factors.
In a statement on Saturday, the MEC called upon parents to follow a five-point guide while purchasing toys.
The first point pertains to size, with the ministry stressing that big toys should be selected for younger children to ensure their safety. Secondly, parents should ensure that the toys do not have a rope-like extension or long tail that may pose the risk of suffocation to children. Thirdly, toys with sharp ends should be avoided and soft toys be selected instead, while the fourth point involves making sure that the components of toys are fire-proof. Finally, children should be supervised by adults while using toys.
The MEC also specified how to choose toys for children in different age categories. For infants, from birth up to one year, the ministry has warned parents against opting for toys with sharp ends as children in this age group tend to put things in their mouth and nose. Besides, toys containing polystyrene should be avoided due to the health hazards involved.
The MEC has encouraged parents to buy big toys of multiple colours, which kids in this category are likely to find attractive.
For children aged 1-2 years, the ministry has advised people to buy toys that can be pushed, dragged and assembled. Besides, children should be able to sit on them easily.
For kids aged 2-3 years, the MEC has asked parents to keep cooking and sharp tools, such as those used for carpentry or sewing, away from children’s reach as they tend to imitate adults but do not have the ability to do so safely. Parents should choose toys that will help kids develop hand-eye co-ordination.
Children aged 3-4 years should be closely supervised by adults when swimming or playing near water. The toys suitable for this age should work to enhance their imagination and help tell stories.
Further, the advisory states that toys which encourage group play should be selected for kids aged 4-5 years, highlighting the aspect of the social development of children at this stage.
For 5-6-year-olds, the MEC said parents should be careful with kites and playing with these should be avoided near electric wires. Also, flammable glue and gun toys should be used carefully. As children in this age group want to explore things and engage in group games, they should be supervised by adults, who should help the young ones learn language and arithmetic skills.
Generally, parents should ensure that a toy is safe and suitable for the designated age category. It should be non-toxic and the wrapping of the toy should be removed before it is given to the child. Also, toys with small parts should be properly assembled.Consumers should go for well-known, trusted outlets while shopping for toys and keep them in a well-ventilated place.
Meanwhile, the MEC said international statistics showed that around 3bn toys of different types and sizes were manufactured annually around the world. Around 3.3mn children were treated for injuries resulting from the use of toys from 1990 to 2011. The injuries caused to head and face amounted to 44% of the total number of wounds resulting from the misuse of toys, it observed.
Statistics also showed that some 28% of injuries sustained by children under 15 years were the result of the misuse of electric scooters and children playing without proper adult supervision. [GulfTimes]