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Inappropriate toys, video games can be harmful

Decorative photo of children playing video games

DALLAS – Dec. 10, 2018 – Parents and adults have a lot of options when selecting the appropriate toys and games to give while supporting children’s development and safety.

Dr. Joel Steinberg, pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says, “Parents should be very careful selecting presents that may encourage violent behaviors, such as toy guns, knives, bows and arrows, computer games, or violent videos.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reviewing a video game’s content before allowing a child or teen to buy it, download it, or play it on- or offline. Parents and caregivers are often unaware of the content of video games, including factors such as virtual violence and mature sexual content. “Studies of children exposed to violent media have shown that they may become numb to violence, imitate the violence, and show

Dr. Joel Steinberg

Other safe shopping recommendations for infants and preschoolers include:

  • Developmentally appropriate toys that are colorful and have different textures will grab a young child’s attention and stimulate the senses.
  • Toys that are above a child’s age level can pose a safety hazard so check for warnings, especially about the risk of choking on parts.
  • Pretest 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 pose a strangulation hazard for babies and toddlers.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 2.4 million outpatient visits a year.