- 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
- “Research tells us that the best toys need not be flashy or expensive or come with an app,” said report lead author Aleeya Healey, MD, FAAP, in a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “Simple, in this case, really is better.”
- 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.