Newswise — Forget what the neighbors' kids play. Be wary of the social-emotional risks of certain toys. Many send a violent message that could lead to destructive behavior.
Dr. Joel Steinberg, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says, "Parents should be very careful in selecting toys that may encourage violent behaviors, such as toy guns, knives, bow and arrows, or computer games and violent videos."
Youngsters who play "violent video games" are not participating in real life experiences. If they run into a roadblock on a computer game, they may destroy it, and that's not appropriate in real life, the physician says.
Steinberg offers these other holiday-shopping tips:
"¢ Purchase toys that are age appropriate. Toys too advanced may frustrate your child.
"¢ Be sure the toys aren't designed so a child can break them and choke on small parts.
"¢ Test a noise-making toy next to your ear. If the sound is too loud or irritating for you, then it's likely to be harmful to your child.
"¢ Pull-toys with strings more than 12 inches in length could be a strangulation hazard for babies.