Before you shop, you'll want to know what's hot
LIFESTYLES; Pg. 1C
November 18, 2007 — The toys most likely to show up on kids' wish lists this Christmas have taken technology to a new level - incorporating Internet connections and other interactive elements.
The Barbie Girls unit is an MP3 player that connects to the Internet, where it unlocks a virtual world. Eye-Clops is an electronic magnifier that plugs into the television, while Rubik's Revolution has gone high-tech with the classic puzzle.
"It's about what the children want," said Jim Silver, editor of Toy Wishes magazine, who notes that toy manufacturers are catering to what children demand.
"We're in the business of supply and demand," said Silver, who noted that children today are exposed to technology at younger and younger ages. "If some toys aren't around anymore, it's because children won't play with them."
The magazine reviews hundreds of toys, and each year releases a list of the expected hot dozen - those toys most likely to be on kids' Christmas lists.
But it also compiles lists of toys that have no bells, whistles or batteries, "still sizzling'" toys that have demonstrated enduring power and those considered most innovative.
A number of toy recalls this year, including Chinese-made toys that violated federal standards for lead paint levels, have made toy shoppers leery.
But Silver believes a more serious safety problem is parents who fail to follow age-appropriate guidelines for toys. Some of those guidelines have to do with choking hazards.
"This is where the injuries have occurred," Silver said, referring to choking hazards. "Parents have to do a better job. They have to take the ages on products seriously."
And when choosing toys, Silver said parents need to above all consider their child's interests and what he or she likes to play with. "The hot toy is only hot," he said, "if it's right for your child."