Gift Giving Safety

Season’s Greetings! As the weather grows colder and the holidays get closer, we look forward to buying gifts for our little ones. However, the wrong toy can cause injury, especially to younger children. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 240,000 children are sent to the emergency room each year due to injuries from toys. How can we be sure the gifts we buy our children won’t hurt them? Read on for simple ideas and tips for Christmas gift-giving safety!

Shopping for Safe Gifts:

  • First of all, think about your child’s age. Will this toy interest him or her, and is he or she old enough to make smart choices using it? If you’re not sure, read the package for advice.
  • Avoid toys that a child could choke on. For example, balloons should be kept away from children below the age of eight. Check toys for any small parts that can be swallowed. These toys should be kept away from children under three.
  • Include safety gear with riding toys such as bikes and scooters. Helmets and kneepads are always good choices, and they should always fit your child well.
  • Strings or cords can be dangerous to younger children. Avoid giving gifts with straps longer than a few inches. Long straps, like the strap around a toy guitar, should be taken off.
  • Strong magnets can seriously injure children, and should never be given as a gift.
  • Check toys for sharp edges or corners before giving them to young children.
  • Check electrical toys for hot spots before giving them to children. One in a while, recheck the toy in case of damage.
  • Make sure that any flying toys are not powerful enough to cause injury when fired.

After Gifts Have Been Opened:

  • Clear away packages and wrappers to remove choking hazards.
  • Read through the directions with your child, and be sure that he or she knows how to play with the toy.
  • Keep toys away from brothers and sisters that are too young to safely use them.
  • Help your children charge any batteries to prevent burns. Make sure that the charger won’t let the toy overcharge.
  • Finally, continue to check toys in the weeks and months afterward for any wear and tear that could cause injury, such as breaks, splinters, or other damage.

Staying Up-To-Date:

Safe Kids offers email alerts once a month with information on any new toy safety recalls. You can sign up for these updates at

These tips were collected from Child and Family Services. For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Four Corners Health Department at 877-337-3573, or by email at