September 18, 2013

Inappropriate Toys for Young Children

My son has just recently started getting birthday invitations from his friends at school. I honestly didn’t realize just how many people throw birthday parties for kids this young until he collected about 15 invitations within one school year. To be fair, I’ve told him that he can’t go to his friends’ birthday parties until he is six because that is when we are going to have the first “friend” birthday party.

This morning I got online and did a little browsing to catch up on what has been going on around the country and came across a tragic story out of Kentucky. A little five year old boy received his first gun (yes, I said gun) for his fifth birthday. He got the gun to play with when his mom stepped outside for a second. That’s when it went off and killed his two year old sister.

My heart breaks for this entire family, especially the mother. I cannot imagine what she is going through because I know that if I were in her shoes, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for stepping outside or leaving a loaded gun where my son could get to it. While this story is incredibly tragic and heart wrenching, to me, it brings up the bigger issue of giving inappropriate gifts to young children.

I come from a small farming town where young kids are given dangerous toys at a young age, so this isn’t an issue that I’m not familiar with. A lot of my friends were given “toys” for their birthdays that had the potential to hurt them or someone else. Things like fully powered four wheelers, sling shots, potato launchers, guns and other similar items were often given as birthday presents. And, until I became a mother I didn’t see the harm in those things.
However, as the mother of a five year old boy, stories like the one I read today scare me to the core. Yes, kids do need to learn about guns and gun safety, but giving a five year old a .22 caliber rifle for his birthday is not the right time. Maybe he is mature enough for a BB gun, but not a real rifle. No five year old child is.

I guess the point of this blog post is to raise awareness of giving age appropriate gifts to kids for their birthdays. Sure, a four wheeler would be a lot of fun for the child to ride on, but chances are that it is still too powerful for them to fully control at 5, 6 or even 7. Even a sling shot can be a dangerous gift if the child isn’t old enough to understand the full potential of the sling shot.

So, this year as you buy birthday gifts for your kids and their friends, be conscience about the gifts you consider. Make sure they are age appropriate because the last thing you want to do is give a gift that could be used to harm another person…or even the little birthday boy/girl.