Don’t fall for the flash: AAP guidance on healthy holiday toy choices

  • Pediatrics

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • This holiday season, pediatricians should advise parents to avoid the flashy lure of electronic toys and go for traditional, hands-on options that encourage child-caregiver interaction.

Why this matters

Key recommendations

  • Clinician guidance for parents can cover choosing toys based on 5 relevant features:
    • Social-emotional development through person-person interaction.
    • Literacy promotion.
    • Play involving blocks, puzzles in relation to science, math, spatial skills.
    • Play involving imagination and creativity, including free play.
    • Electronic media exposure (limiting).
  • Clinicians can discuss age-appropriate choices, offering handouts with examples, using these and other resources:
  • Waiting and examination rooms should: 
    • Offer toys that model what is appropriate and safe for children of all ages (e.g., nothing that fits in infant/toddler mouth or that has loose small parts, button batteries, rope, ribbon, string, sharp edges, or that makes loud noises).
    • Ensure toys are routinely sanitized.
    • Display toy notice recalls.
    • Educate parents and caregivers about the specific dangers of button batteries and high-powered magnets in toys.

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