Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Making a 3+ Doll Baby Safe Isn't What I Thought It'd Be

I didn't want to wait any longer: I bought Lady Bug a non-baby doll for Christmas. A doll that was labeled as appropriate for ages 3 years and up. I thought that surly I could make it safe enough for her to play with, and I did that. But as I was looking at the doll and thinking about it, I realized that there was more that went into that age recommendation than just safety.

Lady Bug already liked playing with her baby doll that we got her for her birthday, but I wanted her to have a doll with hair that she could brush, since she likes brushing mine. I went with the Queen of Hair, Rapunzel herself. (My First Disney PrincessToddler Rapunzel, but I got mine at Walmart for $20.) I opened the box up and looked at what might be a hazard, and what would be safe for my daughter. Pieces that came off included a doll brush, doll mirror, tiara, and shoes. I took the shoes off because they were a choking hazard if she did put them in her mouth. Also, Rapunzel never wore shoes, so we're keeping her authentic. The tiara looked too pointy from outside the box looking in, but once it was out it didn't seem that big a threat. I thought I would have to cut it off or something, but it comes off easily and actually doesn't stay on well, so that's out, too. Also not authentic to the story line, so no harm losing that. The mirror isn't glass, so that and the brush could stay. "That's it?" I thought to myself. "Why did they label it for only 3 year olds and up?"
All my happier baby and doll pictures are too blurry.

Then Lady Bug played with her, and it all became clear. It wasn't a safety issue as much as it was a parental expectation issue. Because a toddler under 3 is not going to be gentle with a toy. They probably don't have the motor control, the self control, or the emotional control to be be all that gentle. Sure, Lady Bug LOVES "Baby." (She doesn't like it when we call her Rapunzel. Her name is Baby.) But that doesn't stop her from throwing her down when she's done with her. And that beautiful hair? Didn't stay brushable for long. Thankfully I expected this and already knew about this pin for fixing doll hair. But what if someone else had bought this for her and hadn't expected this? They might feel like their money was wasted.

Also, not all kids under 3 years of age are even interested in playing with dolls. I think the company when they labeled this doll with that age number were taking interest and motor control into account, as well as safety.

So if you think your toddler is ready for this kind of a doll you can buy it for him or her. As long as you take off the hazards and expect it to get trashed pretty quickly, then you should be fine. Because Lady Bug really does love her Baby; that makes it all worth it to me.

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