It's crucial for parents to know how to select toys that are the safest and the most beneficial for kids.
Infants don't have a properly developed visual system at birth, but it becomes more refined over time. Nothing stimulates a child's visual development more efficiently than playing, which encourages hand-eye coordination and a more concrete understanding of spatial relationships. Good toys that stimulate a baby's visual development in their first year of life include toys with basic shapes or colors, and activity gyms with detachable and changeable objects, puppets and books. In the first three months of life, babies can't totally differentiate between colors, so toys with bold, black and white patterns can be stimulating for them.
Children spend a lot 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 right for their age group. And it is just as important to be sure that toys are suited to their developmental stage. Even though toy companies specify age and developmental appropriateness on the box, you still need to make the call, and be sure your child avoids playing with anything that could be dangerous for them.
Look to see if your child's things are sturdily constructed so they won't lose small, mouth-size parts when played with, and be sure that any paints or finishes are not lead-based and won't flake, as small particles can easily get into eyes. Children tend to roughhouse at times, but they should always be on the look out for balls and other things in the playground, like swinging ropes that might hit the eye. This can cause immediate injury like a corneal abrasion, or a sub-conjunctival hemorrhage, which is a popped blood vessel. Even if there's no apparent harm, the impact can manifest decades after the event, as something as serious as glaucoma.
Don't buy toys with edges or sharp components for a little kid, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the end is rounded. Closely supervise toddlers when they play with such toys.
For kids younger than 6 years old, be wary of toys with flying parts, such as slingshots. Even when they're older than 6, always closely watch kids playing with toys like that. On the other hand, for older kids who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they are wearing safety goggles.
So the next time you're looking for a gift, pay attention to the toy makers' advice about the intended age range for the toy you had in mind. Ensure that toys you buy don't pose any risk to your child's eyes - even if they look fun to play with.