Safety Tips this Holiday Season

Key Benefit Concepts Wellness

Christmas and Hanukkah are less than a month away!  As we pick up food and decorations for the festivities, we are also thinking of the perfect gifts for friends and family.  This year, in particular, we want to make the holidays special.  For that reason, we need to pay close attention to the gifts purchased or made for children.  Here are five key safety tips for toys and gifts for children this holiday season:

Step 1: Look for and Read the Instructions

Every toy purchased should come with a manual that provides instructions for use and warnings to avoid harm. It is important to read and understand the safety of each toy before using it. During the holidays, we see more hospital visits due to injuries to children after receiving an inappropriate gift or one that is used contrary to its intended use. It might also help to research the toy and instructions for the toy, before making a purchase.
                                         
If you are making toys or gifts for small children, you may want to consider creating your own manual so that the adults in the child’s life are able to understand the purpose and limitations of the gift.

Step 2: Make Sure the Gift is Age Appropriate

Children are bombarded every year with ads on television, the computer, or through conversations with children at school about new toys coming out.  And, of course, the ads are enticing and they immediately start asking for this toy for Christmas. However, most toys list the age group for which the toy was intended.  The determined age is based upon the size of the pieces of the toy, how complicated it is to play with the toy and how likely the child is able to use the toy based upon the child’s size and maturity. It is very important to research the product and match it up with your child’s abilities to see if it would be the right fit.

Ages 1-5Ages 6-17Ages 12-17
RattlesBallsTablets
BooksPlush AnimalsGadgets
Squeeze ToysBoard GamesJewelry

Step 3: Recognize any Safety Concerns

Often times we give our children a gift that has wheels. Skateboards, bikes, scooters and tricycles. It is very important when purchasing a gift with wheels that a helmet or knee pads are also included in the gift, if you don’t know if the child has these safety items already. Many children’s head injuries are the result of falling off a bike or skateboard and injuring their heads, because they weren’t wearing a helmet.  Also, not all helmets are safe.  Be sure to check the description, purpose and level of protection provided by a helmet or knee pads before purchasing.  Looking at customers’ reviews can prove helpful too.

Step 4: Give a Demonstration

When giving a gift this holiday season, it may be important to demonstrate to the child how to use the gift correctly. This assures that the child understands the purpose of the toy and how it functions, and they are more likely to play with it effectively. Further, this will give you confidence that your gift will have the value you intended it to have when you wrapped it up and put a bow on it.

Step 5: Provide Supervision

Sometimes demonstrations are not enough.  Some gifts require a parent being on hand to make sure the child is safe when playing with their gift. A science experiment kit or a jungle gym are some examples. Supervision any time the child is playing with these gifts is necessary to ensure proper use and prevent injuries.

Let’s make the most of this holiday season and assure the best value for the recipient for each gift selected.  Happy holidays!