Toys are a big part of a child's holiday memories. But, it is important to keep safety in mind when purchasing holiday gifts. The following tips are provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- When shopping for toys, look for markings that indicate the product has been tested by an independent, third-party product safety and certification organization. If a toy has a certification on it, it means that it has been tested and found to comply with appropriate safety requirements.
- Pay close attention to the recommended age designation marked on the toy. Always make sure that the child's age matches or exceeds the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts. Do not give children under age 3 toys that contain small or metal parts or toys that break easily.
- Avoid toys that have sharp edges for children under 8.
- Avoid toys that shoot small objects into the air. These objects can become lost and then later picked up by smaller children and are potential choking hazards.
- If your gift is a bicycle, skates, skateboard, or other toy that requires safety equipment, be sure to include the protective gear as part of the present.
- If a toy requires assembly, make sure an adult assembles the product following the manufacturer's instructions.
- If you're considering buying your child a BB or pellet gun, make sure your child knows the proper way to use it. Remember, children need to be supervised at all times when using a BB or pellet gun. If you are not the parent of the child, it is also a very good idea to talk with the child's parent(s) prior to giving the gift. You may also want to check your city ordinances to see if your child can use the gun within city limits.
- Do not throw gift wrappings in the fireplace. They can cause a flash fire. Throw away all toy packaging right away so it doesn't become a choking or suffocation hazard.
- Keep batteries away from children. They are toxic if swallowed.
As an adult, it is your responsibility to supervise children while they are opening their presents. Be alert to any possible safety problems in the presents your children receive. You may also want to pay particular attention to toy recalls during the holiday season. Whenever possible, complete and return product warranty and registration forms to the manufacturer. If a product is recalled, the manufacturer can use these forms to contact you right away.