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† D. Research May Influence Products Designed for Infants

Narrator: This is Science Today. Psychologists at the University of California, Davis, have been studying infants and toddlersí attraction to shiny objects and their tendencies to mouth such glossy surfaces. Psychology professor Richard Coss says this behavior is a holdover from when early primates were seeking water for survival and it has implications for the design and manufacturing of toys, plastic bags and household products.

Coss: We thought that that might have some application to containers, possibly jars that have medicines, you might have buckets, since there is a condition of children tipping over in their buckets and drowning. So, possibly, you could have duller surfaces for these household items and of course, plastic bags.

Narrator: The U.S. Product Safety Commission is considering making such changes, but in the meantime Coss offers advice to parents and caregivers.

Coss: You have to be aware that there are certain kinds of surfaces, particularly small objects that might be shiny, they could actually place in the mouth and choke. So thatís why certain toys have certain size restrictions so you canít have parts fall off and endanger the infant that way.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.