Stuffed animals become well loved and treasured family members to a child. Even many adults still have their favorite stuffed teddy or kitty from their youth, and often these animals are passed down from one generation to another as beloved heirlooms. But all stuffed animals are not appropriate for all ages and there are a few things to take into consideration before gifting one of these childhood joys.
Very young children between the ages of 0-2 years of age require stuffed toys that have nothing that can be accidently swallowed. This means no lights, noise makers, or clothing. The animal should be small enough to be comfortably held by the child, and brightly colored for attention and interest. The hair should be short so that it cannot be chewed and swallowed. The animal should also be washable.
For children ages 3 and up, look for some of the child’s favorite animals. Never get a stuffed toy that the child might be scared of. For younger kids, be sure nothing can be swallowed. Be aware whether or not the stuffed friend is washable. At the young end of ages, keeping the animals clean is very important.
Buy a stuffed animal that has some longevity. You may have to spend a bit more, but having a toy that will last and last as the child grows, gives that child to really bond with the animal. Also keep in mind what kind of storage is available in the home where the child lives. Very large stuffed animals are unique and fun, but most children like to be able to easily hold and often sleep with the animal.
And finally, even adult’s love stuffed animals. Buying a dear friend a replacement for a loved animal that has been lost or is in an irreparable state can be a very loving thing to do. Stuffed animals remind us of easier times gone by long ago, when there were no responsibilities and obligations, and when the comfort of a stuffed toy could obliterate fears and ease you into sleep.