There’s nothing worse than a holiday gone wrong because of a safety issue. We often write about keeping your back safe, but we like to think about safety culture everywhere, including at home. 

Last year we wrote about how you can throw a safe holiday party. This year, let’s talk toys and gifts since December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month.

Make sure that the gift you’re giving is age-appropriate. Most games and toys come with the recommended ages on the packaging, but there are other things to consider as well.

 

Balloons

Once they’re popped or deflated, they can be dangerous to children under age eight, who might choke or suffocate on them. Toss them when they’re no longer full.

 

Small balls and toys/toy parts

Just like kittens and puppies, little kids love to explore by putting things in their mouths! But toys that are small enough to fit in their mouths could choke them. If you’re buying for kids aged three or younger, stay away from toys and games with small parts. Including small button batteries.

This includes small magnets that children can easily swallow. High-powered magnets may be too strong for any child, so save them for your adult friends.

 

Fabric toys

Stuffed toys should be washable. You know they’re going to be dragged on the floor and drooled on, depending on the age of the children. Fabric on stuffed animals or any other toy should be labeled flame-retardant or flame-resistant. Flame-retardant materials are treated to burn slowly, whereas flame-resistant ones are naturally nonflammable in their structure.

 

General handling

Try to stay away from gifting toys that have sharp edges, or parts that can easily be pulled off. That’s particularly important when the child is a toddler or younger. Avoid ropes and cords too. Crayons and other art supplies should be marked non-toxic. 

 

Moving toys

Scooters, bikes, skateboards, and other riding toys can be dangerous when your kids fall. (Yes, we said “when”. It happens.) Make sure they’re wearing their lids, pads, and other recommended gear to prevent more serious injuries.

 

After the fun part (opening) is over:

  • Toss wrapping and packaging immediately to prevent suffocation or choking.
  • Keep the older kids’ toys away from the younger ones.
  • Take charge of the battery charging, because not all chargers are designed to avoid overcharging and they can cause burns.
  • Are your kids standing up to do crafts and other activities? Make sure the tables are at the right height to avoid hurting their backs.

 

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