I don't think it would be a good idea for a child. For one thing, it's a real laser, and you wouldn't want anyone shining it in their eyes, or a pet's eye. Another thing, you have to hook it up to your computer, and that would be a problem. It would show the bar codes that are scanned on a word program, or some other application. They do have toy scanners out there. There use to be a Barbie one attached to a shopping cart, it worked great, but it only scanned the bar codes on the items it came with. Honestly, for a child, I would look for a toy scanner. Hope this helped!