You don't have children but someone in your life does. You want to give their little ones a gift but aren't quite sure what to buy. There are so many recalls and safety warnings that you couldn't keep them straight even if you tried. Here's some help.
The first thing to know is that newborn is 0-3 months in the toy and baby clothing world. For the rest of the world newborn is technically up to 6 months. Everyone 12 months and younger is an infant. Everyone 12-18 months and older is a toddler. If you decide to buy for a newborn by the clothing in the last month of their range. For example, Carter's makes clothes that come in Newborn and 3 months. This means the Newborn size fits preemie up to newborn sizes. The 3 months size fits newborn to 3 months. Many tags show the weight of the baby that could fit the outfit. By purchasing the larger of the sizes you allow the baby time to wear the gift longer.
Now that you have the sizing what clothing should you buy?
If you're the practical gift giver then layette sets, shoes, socks, Onesies, mix and match sets, beanies and blankets are your best bet. If you are the expensive gift giver then opt for the flashy outfit from a designer. If you are the fun gift giver don't give clothes at all. Give toys.
What kind of toys?
Baby gyms (floor mats), rattles, glow worm, stuffed animals, kick and play, toys that sing, toys that light up.
Make it easy on yourself and look at the age on the packaging. The rule of thumb is to shop ahead of the baby's age. For a newborn get a toy for a 3 month old. For a 3 month old buy a toy that says 3-6 months or 6-9 months.
In the clothing world a toddler's size is represented by the letter T. The sizes typically range from 2T to 5T. This usually coincides with the child's age. Again, shop ahead one size.
For toys, follow the same age guideline as when buying toys for a baby. If you buy the child something that makes sound, keep the parents in mind. If it sounds like something that would be annoying if you heard it 100 times in 10 minutes then you should leave it on the shelf because the parents certainly will. Always remember that the parents are the ones who have to deal with it This also applies to artistic toys. Markers, crayons, Play-Doh are all headaches for most parents. Use your best judgment here.
Children clothing sizes are based mostly on age. There is no T as with toddler sizes. If the child is thin and tall you may want to may want to buy belts for the pants or buy the shirts separate from the pants. For example, my son is turn five in the spring. He is as tall as a 5 year old. He is very thin however. We buy his shirts true to size, size 4. Then we buy his pants one size up for length and add a belt. The other thing to know is that a thin child can still wear a T size. My size 4 can also wear a 4T.
Toys are a little tricky. For children it goes by range, 5-7 etc. Sometimes children would rather continue to play with a toy that was intended for a younger child and sometimes they are more advanced and prefer older toys. Also, at about 5 years old children begin to see toys on tv and shout, "I want that!" Don't listen to them. They have no idea what they want. Use your instincts and keep the receipt.
Gift cards. Plain and simple. Some teens wear adult sizes and some wear tween or even children's. Teens are fickle. They beg you for a green IPod then see the black one and pout because they wish they'd asked for the black one. Just buy them a gift card to a place that they frequent regularly.