Tips for Taming a Tangled Barbie

Barbies are dolls that were created to be played with, but if you have a girl with a collection of the dolls, you know just how quickly normal play can turn quite damaging for the doll. Whether you are looking to spruce up your daughter’s Barbie collection or want to care for a collection of vintage dolls, these tips will help your dolls look their best.

Vintage Collectible or Toy?

First, understand that there is a difference in the level of care you will take with a vintage doll versus one intended for play. Vintage dolls are dolls for collectors. These are limited edition dolls, older dolls or dolls that have some other value in the eyes of a collector. Dolls for play, on the other hand, are not as valuable. While you want them to look great, they are going to take a beating, so your goal is to minimize that without impacting your child’s play.

Caring for Barbies for Play

If the Barbie is one your child is playing with, your goal is two-fold. First, you want to keep her hair looking good and free of mats. Second, you want to keep her relatively clean.

If her hair is a frizzy, matted mess, mix some fabric softener with water and spray her hair with it. This will allow you to comb it out without adding to the frizz. If the hair is dirty, you can wash it using a moisturizing shampoo. Keep in mind that this will eliminate any curls she had when you bought her, but you can re-set her hair by wrapping it around pieces of a straw while wet, and allowing it to dry.

To clean her body, do not submerge her, but wipe her down with a soap and water mixture. You can also clean her with a plain Magic Eraser if the dirt is very hard to remove, but do not use this on the face. The Magic Eraser may remove the eye paint.

Caring for Vintage Dolls

Because of their age and rarity, vintage dolls require a different style of cleaning. To clean the body, the Magic Eraser works well, but again, avoid using it on the face. If you prefer, you can use simple dish soap and water on the body, but do not submerge the doll.

For a vintage doll’s hair, dirt can contribute to the frizz problem, so a good washing is important. Again, use a moisturizing shampoo. Then, comb through and style the hair by curling it around straws. If you want, you can spray the hair with hair spray, but cover the face before you do. Hair spray will leave a shine on the face. Let the hair set for 48 hours, and then remove the straws. Do not use fabric softener on a vintage doll’s hair, as it can damage it. Instead, use dish washing liquid and hair conditioner or a moisturizing shampoo.

Once she is clean, you will need to find a place to store and display Barbie. Your goal needs to be to keep her away from dust and direct sunlight to prevent further damage. A storage cabinet in an area without sunlight is great, but put the dolls in their own individual storage boxes for added protection. If you are not displaying them, wrap them in acid free paper and store them without their shoes on. Shoes can leave a stain on the feet, and the shoes can also split if left on the doll’s feet for too long.

If your Barbies are looking a little worse for the wear, you can help. With the right tools, you may even be able to get then in close to new condition. All it takes is a little bit of time and attention, and you can have a beautiful doll to display or play with again.

About the author: Danielle blogs on behalf of Sears and other brands she uses. She hate’s Barbie’s oversized, pink plastic brush and prefers to use an actual baby brush instead.

Daycare Center Playground

Safe playground surfaces are essential for daycare center playgrounds no matter if you have a large facility or a small one. Falling onto a hard surface is a major hazard for small children. Hospitals and doctors report that falls are one of the most likely injuries for children under age 5. Every year, 2.9 million children of all ages are seen in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries.

Many childcare centers are now using Rubbercycle, a type of bulk rubber mulch, in there playground area to prevent serious injuries. It is popular because it has a proven safety track record, is easy to install and meets CPSC safety and ADA guidelines.

Playground safety does involve more than just falls, here are some guidelines from the CPSC for safe playground equipment for pre-schoolers

Toddler — Ages 6-23 months

• Climbing equipment under 32”
high
• Ramps
• Single file step ladders
• Slides*
• Spiral slides less than 30°
• Spring rockers
• Stairways
• Swings with full bucket seats

Preschool — Ages 2-5 years
• Certain climbers*
• Horizontal ladders less than or
equal to 0” high for ages  and
5
• Merry-go-rounds
• Ramps
• Rung ladders
• Single file step ladders
• Slides*
• Spiral slides up to 30°
• Spring rockers
• Stairways
• Swings – belt, full bucket seats
(2- years) & rotating tire

Equipment not recommended:

• Trampolines
• Swinging gates
• Giant strides
• Climbing ropes that are not secured at both ends.
• Heavy metal swings (e.g., animal figures) – These are not
recommended because their heavy rigid metal framework
presents a risk of impact injury.
• Multiple occupancy swings – With the exception of tire
swings, swings that are intended for more than one user are
not recommended because their greater mass, as compared
to single occupancy swings, presents a risk of impact injury.
• Rope swings – Free-swinging ropes that may fray or otherwise form a loop are not recommended because they present a potential strangulation hazard.

* see full requirements/recommendations: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/325.pdf

Routine maintenance should include checking for:
Broken equipment such as loose bolts, missing
end caps, cracks, etc.
Broken glass & other trash
Cracks in plastics
Loose anchoring
Hazardous or dangerous debris
Insect damage
Problems with surfacing
Displaced loose-fill surfacing (see Section .3)
Holes, flakes, and/or buckling of unitary
surfacing
User modifications (such as ropes tied to parts
or equipment rearranged)
Vandalism
Worn, loose, damaged, or missing parts
Wood splitting
Rusted or corroded metals
Rot