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SUNDAY BRUNCH

Helping Tots Get a Grip

October 04, 1998|ELENA NELSON HOWE

Take one 17-month-old, add one standard child-sized toothbrush, then step back and watch his attempt to brush his tonsils. It's not that he can't correctly grasp the brush. It's the concept of holding it parallel to his teeth that he can't grasp.

The people at Kindertools, makers of safety products for children, have eliminated the need for that understanding. The company has designed a baby toothbrush (available in two versions, depending on whether the tot has molars yet) with a triangular handle for easy holding. The brush sits directly atop the handle, no tonsil-reaching stem necessary if baby has only his incisors to worry about. The Stage 2 version has a short stem to reach molars without injury.

Using the same basic handle design, Kindertools also markets a spoon and fork set (a little awkward at first, but not as messy as traditional baby utensils) and a crayon holder. This one works. Maybe a little too well. Seems the new flexibility in holding the crayon at any angle makes walls an especially enticing target. The four enclosed crayons are nontoxic and soybean based. And no easier to scrub off walls than your basic Crayola.

Also in the Kindertools easy-grip line: a paintbrush holder and fingernail brush. Each item retails for about $3.50. All are available at selected Ralph's grocery stores or by calling (800) 224-3557.

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