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It's of paramount importance for parents to know how to choose toys that are the safest and the most beneficial for kids.

Children are born with a partially developed visual system which forms throughout their early years with the correct sort of stimulation. Few things stimulate a child's visual development more efficiently than toys that involve hand-eye coordination and learning about spatial relationships. Ideal toys to encourage an infant's vision in his or her first year include geometric mobiles or bright primary colors and activity mats with detachable and changeable objects, puppets and balls. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can't totally differentiate between colors, so high contrast black and white images of things like bulls-eyes or checkerboard patterns are particularly helpful for stimulating visual development.

Kids spend a considerable amount of time playing with toys, so it's good for parents to know those toys are safe. Firstly, to be safe, a toy should be age-appropriate. Along with making sure to keep toys age-appropriate is to check that the toy is developmentally appropriate, too. Although toy companies indicate targeted age groups on packaging, as a parent, you still need to make the call, and prevent your son or daughter from playing with toys that might cause eye injury or loss of vision.

A wonderful toy for most age groups is blocks, but for younger children, it's important to check that they don't have any sharp or rough parts, to decrease the chance of harm. Also, take note of toy size. The general rule with toddlers is that any object that can fit into their mouths is unsafe. It's best to put small toys aside until your child is more appropriately aged.

Stuffed, plush toys are best if machine washable, and, especially when it comes to smaller children, made without very small pieces to pull off, like buttons, sequins or bows. Don't buy toys that have points or edges or sharp components for little kids, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, always make sure the end is rounded. Always pay attention when they play with such toys.

If your child is under 6, avoid toys which shoot, such as slingshots. Even when they're older than 6, always pay close attention with toys like that. On the other hand, if you have teens who enjoy chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always check that they have protective eyewear.

When you're next looking to buy gifts for a holiday or birthday, pay attention to the manufacturers' instructions about the intended age range for the toy. Be certain that toys you buy don't pose any risk to your child - even if your child really wants it.