December 28th, 2008

I feel sorry for little kids between ages 1 and 3.  All they have to play with is dirt.

“Oh-ho”, you surely say, “that isn’t the case!  Toy stores are full of toys!”.  But if you actually check at the toy store, you will find that there is a surprising gap.  There are plenty of rattles and baubles and teddy bears for infants, all made with big, soft, non-flammable components.  Unfortunately, these toys all bore the pants (or skirts) off of children over 1.  The rest of the toys all seem to start from age 3.  Play-doh, toy cars, even oversized crayons, are all marked “ages 3 and up”.

One would normally posit that it’s a big market just ripe for development, but, honestly, the market is full.  Toy companies have just realized that there are two ways to sell toys for two-year-olds: market them as being for two-year-olds, and then pay huge legal fees when one kid in a million chokes on a toy, or market them as being for three-and-up, reaping the same sales but without the same legal headaches.

One wonders, then, why there are toys marketed as “ages 3 and up”.  Wouldn’t it be safer to just mark all toys, even infant rattles, as “ages 18 and up”?

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