The Pull Test: Tell a salesperson to open up the box so you can tug at the nitty-bitty parts—beads, buttons, eyes and wheels—see how strongly bits-n-bobs have been attached.
The Toxin Check: While most branded products are colour-safe on the outside, ask about the liquids in teething rings and bubble-toys that can be burst or punctured.
The Skin Test: Run the product on your palms, check smoothness and bluntness from every angle.
The String Measure: Keep the cords short enough so that a child doesn’t wrap it around his/her neck.
The Feelgood Factor: Is the toy going to make your kid angry, aggressive, combative? If you’ve got to get a gun, buy the kid a big, plastic bazooka with water bullets.
And now for the good news on the latest. Baby gyms for infants from 0-6 months. Colourfully coaxing babies to kick and pull before crawling, these gyms are equipped with rattlers, shakers and mobiles. For six-month-olds, Funskool has introduced five-dimensional stacking action blocks. OK Plays’ Rs 395 string-up swing for 12-month-plus toddlers has elastic seat-belts and a safety bar. Moose Mountain’s inflatable fun-stations for 3- to 8-year-olds, steeply-priced at Rs 5,000 plus, can keep more than two tykes active at one go. But the best thing is the all-age inclusive Kaleidoscope, now selling in Delhi. It is a mindgame for kids-to-adults, which uses just 18 unique patterned pieces on a chess-like board. Played offline and online, this Rs 995 ultimate brain-up game combines fun, science and creativity for juniors and seniors. So hurry up and join the bouncy tots in the toy store.