When you look at the packaging on the majority of the toys in the toy industry you will see a warning or disclaimer that states that the toy should only be used by children of a certain age or there will be guidelines for suggested ages. The reason this done is to help the parent decide if the toy or game is appropriate for their child. A lot of this is for safety reasons due to small children always putting everything in their mouth but sometimes it is for intellectual reasons. In the case of certain games, children just may not have the mental capacity until a certain age. Still another warning has to do with suitability; this has really become important in recent years with all of the video games containing sexual and violent content. The guidelines are there to help you not to keep your child from enjoying something.
The final decision about whether your child is able to use a certain game or toy will be yours; after all we are talking about your child. Some of the warnings are subjective as in the case of the intellectual suggestions. Only you can determine if your child is capable of playing a certain game at an earlier age than what is stated. On the other hand you may also feel that your child is not quite ready for something that is stated for his age or in the case of some video games you may decide that even though the warning says thirteen and older you just don’t want them playing that game, ever!
Investigate the product for yourself; the majority of them have very detailed descriptions which will tell you how the toy works or how the game is played. In the case of video games you can actually play the game in many stores. When you are looking at toys for younger children it is best to always consider safety first and foremost. Even if you aren’t buying the toy for young children, if there are younger siblings in the home you will still want to exercise caution when buying toys with small pieces that they could get a hold of and place in their mouths. A good guide is to gauge if the pieces would fit through the middle of a toilet paper roll, if so they are probably not safe for children under three years old.
These tips are just like the guidelines on the product boxes, here to assist you. When you are buying toys for your own child the decision as to whether or not to deviate from the suggested age usage is all yours. However, If you are buying a toy as a gift for another person’s child you should always err on the side of caution and stay within range suggested.
Gregg Hall is an author and internet marketing consultant living in Navarre Florida. Find more about board games and educational toys at http://www.funtoysforchildren.com