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Is toy safety possible with children of different ages?

(13 Posts)
laughingeyes2013 Thu 26-Dec-13 23:21:20

I've got a 3 year difference between my children.

It seems unfair to not allow the appropriate-age toys for 3+ years, just because they'd be unsafe for crawlers who put everything in their mouth. With that logic, in a large family you'd potentially get to teen years without ever having played with a toy because there's always someone younger than you to prevent it!

But it also seems unsafe to allow lots of choking hazards to be knocking around downstairs.

I've tried to think it through and can't see what people do for the best.

Do you lock toys away and only allow them out one at a time for supervised play? Seems a bit hard to police.

Do you only allow them in the bedroom? Seems a bit unfair to banish children to their rooms to play.

So what on earth do people do?

madamginger Thu 26-Dec-13 23:32:55

I have a 4 year gap between my oldest and youngest and I have never restricted toys.
We have lots of Lego that got played with on the table rather than the floor, but I found that that ds2 would rather play with his sisters toys than his own.
I don't really take much notice of age limits, I tend to make a judgement on the toy myself, eg ds2 loves ds1 imaginext bat cave even though the minimum age is 3 and he was only 2 when we got it.

laughingeyes2013 Thu 26-Dec-13 23:49:21

Good tip regarding use of tables. Although I don't have much room for that and at the moment everything is always played with at floor level, so not sure how realistically I'd achieve that.

Was your second child a 'put-everything-straight-to-the-mouth" type crawler?

flatmum Thu 26-Dec-13 23:52:29

If it is any consolation we found a lego man head in ds3's nappy when he was about 7 month old - hadn't even started crawling!

We have a kids play table which helped and tended to (try) and keep the older dc Lego in their bedrooms.

flatmum Thu 26-Dec-13 23:53:19

also ds1 was in a cabin bed by that stage and used to play with a lot of his fiddly bits up there - ds3 couldn't climb the steps (for awhile)

laughingeyes2013 Fri 27-Dec-13 00:04:51

Did you only bother with the really fiddly bits on the table or everything that could come apart (card and trains come to mind here).

BettyandDon Fri 27-Dec-13 00:08:12

My DD3 has to do playdough, colouring, crafts or anything with very small bits on the table. My DD1 eats everything. I am careful not to have small parts on the floor and I try to get DD1 to understand that too. Duplo and Happyland are fine though. I thought about segmenting an area for the baby but we don't have space and its nice for them to play together.

I generally have to watch the younger one like a hawk as she will pick up and eat everything even fluff from the carpet. The toys are an extension of that really and I can't wait till she stops trying to eat everything.

laughingeyes2013 Fri 27-Dec-13 00:23:45

We've got so many cars and trains that have been given to us, many are falling apart and leaving bumpers or wheels all over the place - am sure very appealing to younger fingers/mouths!

I can't imagine how is enforce playing cars and trains on a table top. Maybe we have to buy bigger stronger models so less of a choking hazard?

Happyland is a good idea. Luckily we've got very little playmobil - so could start a collection of happyland or playmobil123 instead which I believe is ok for little people so would solve that problem.

We do art stuff heavily supervised on the table anyway so that wouldn't change. It seems a shame to restrict Lego now that he's starting to get into it a bit. Maybe that will have to be supervised play on the floor, and then out away before moving on to the next toy or something.

MiaowTheCat Fri 27-Dec-13 14:12:43

It's one of those things where I rejoice in the small age gap I have so it's less of an issue.

I've steered people toward things like Happyland when they were buying for us, rather than Playmobil (the 123 stuff is OK, but I've had to pop a couple of tiny bits away) as the figures are fine for the crawling DD2 to grab and chomp on - and she actually enjoys looking at it along with her sister. Probably going to have to go for Duplo longer than when some would have switched to Lego I guess which is a small price to pay.

What about something like a playtent for a den for them to do their little bitty stuff in?

NoComet Fri 27-Dec-13 14:17:10

I cheated, I had my DDs in the right order.
DD1 put everything in her mouth, DD2 didn't.

To the extent you could almost wonder if she had a second child Lego survival gene.

Procrastreation Fri 27-Dec-13 14:17:35

Zone the house - so have 3+ toys mainly in older Dc bedrooms (& put a table in there).

But - tbh - younger siblings IME are much less lemming-like than their PFB sibs...!

Procrastreation Fri 27-Dec-13 14:18:06

X post starball!

laughingeyes2013 Fri 27-Dec-13 21:55:16

I wish I'd had mine the right way round - I suppose it is early days yet, to be fair, but so far number 2 puts everything (including DC1's nose!) in his mouth and grins impishly. Whereas my first showed no interest in putting anything in his mouth at all whatsoever. Apart from food that it.

I suppose one thing we'll have going for us is the fact that DS1 will be at school by the time DS2 is mobile. So toys won't be left out all day during the week, which I suppose helps reduce the time we need to have eyes out of the back of our heads!

I can't truthfully see a playpen working as he's already very vocal over his frustration with not being mobile yet. My first one was horrendous with constant complaints until he was mobile and I can see history repeating itself before my very eyes blush

I've noticed DS1 is quite vigilant with keeping toys out of baby's mouth - even to the point that he removes rattles and teether rings while telling him off! So I'm sure that will help.

For those who use the bedroom, do your DC mind being upstairs on their own like that at such a young age? (3/4 years old). I just can't see that happening without feeling like a punishment. Seems a bit cruel to do to mine, as he's a child who is so sociable!

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