Kids too young for toys? Parents still buy them

SINGAPORE - Most parents know their children are too young for certain toys, but may buy them anyway.

This was a key finding of a recent study by the KK Women's and Children's Hospital, published in the Singapore Medical Journal last November.

The hospital surveyed 93 sets of parents and other caregivers in its children's emergency department from February to April 2012.

It found that 81.7 per cent had made sure toys were age-appropriate, with 72 per cent checking toy labels for age recommendations.

However, 92.5 per cent still bought some toys that were age-inappropriate for their child.

Dr Chong Shu Ling, from the hospital's department of emergency medicine, said many parents did so because they thought such toys "would benefit the child educationally".

Others had bought age-inappropriate toys because they felt their child was "developmentally ready" to play with them.

The hospital's children's emergency department sees more than 500 toy-related injury cases in children under five years old every year. This works out to an average of one or two cases a day.

Dr Chong said that there had been a 15 per cent rise in the number of cases from January to September last year, compared to the same time period in 2012.

"We do see a sizeable number of children with toy-related injuries, and because they are largely preventable, we want to encourage parents to be careful with the selection of toys, as well as make sure they are supervised during play," she said.

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This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper,  a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.