Christmas should be a happy, safe time for the entire family. Along with the traditional 0pening of gifts from under the Christmas tree, there shouldn’t be any worries about whether any could be unsafe for kids. For those who are buying gifts this year for kids, especially the very young ones, there are certain potentially harmful features to avoid.
1. Don’t give any unsafe toys that have pointed sticks or sharp edges on them can cause eye injuries. Be aware of plastic or wooden toys that can be broken easily, and may expose sharp splintered areas.
2. Realistic-looking play pistols could be mistaken for real ones, especially if older children play with them in stores or other public places where there are security cameras. The video cameras often distort images, and a ten-year-old boy with a toy gun in the store or parking lot could be wrongly thought to be an adult robber.
3. Avoid unsafe toys with paint that can be chewed off, or you may suspect contains lead. Check carefully with the packaging information on the toys to see if they’re lead-free. Most of the big box stores will display many toys from China, where manufacturing requirements are not the same as they are in the U.S.
4. Don’t give potentially unsafe toys that shoot marbles, plastic darts or other hard objects that can cause eye injuries.
5. For gifts to children age three or younger, be sure the toys you give are safe, and don’t contain bite-sized parts, such as marbles, metal figures and plastic foods. Small children instinctively put small objects into their mouths, particularly bright-colored ones that may look like familiar food.
6. Children as young as four are already familiar with computers, cell phones, iPods, DVD players and just about everything else digital and electronic. However, if they must use home electric wall sockets to play or recharge, there’s the danger of electric shock.
The toys can be more dangerous if young children get plastic ones that resemble real electronic devices. They may try to use the wall sockets.
7. Before you buy toys for children, make sure you know the age limits warnings printed on the packages.
Christmas season should be a happy, untroubled time for families. Don’t take a chance of ruining it by giving gifts that may be dangerous to children.