Make Your Holiday Gift List a Safety Bonus This Year
By Martha Michael
Whether you take your holiday gift list to “city sidewalks dressed in holiday style” or just shop from the couch while listening to carols, you want to be sure the presents you give don’t injure anyone. December is “Safe Toys and Gifts Month,” an appropriate time to pay attention to the potential hazards of products you purchase.
Gifts Designed for Safety
It’s possible to choose safer gifts for all ages and the hardware store is a good bet for adults who may want a product that’s specifically designed to add to their safety and protection. The experts in preparedness and disaster at Adjusters International have a list of gifts on their website that promote safety:
- First aid kit - The American Red Cross suggests you have kits that contain such items as bandages, gloves, and gauze pads to be prepared for the treatment of injuries.
- Emergency roadside car kit - There are complete kits you can purchase or assemble yourself, including jumper cables, flashlights, and roadside flares.
- Fire extinguisher - You can spend less than $100 and provide fire protection for your home or office.
- Smoke or carbon monoxide detectors - Households need alarms installed outside every sleeping area of your home to warn you of the presence of hazardous gases.
If you have tech-lovers on your list, there are digital gifts to make them happy and decrease online threats such as identity theft.
An article by TechCrunch.com suggests the following products for friends and family:
- Webcam to deter home invasions or monitor nurseries and common areas
- Subscription to a password manager so you only have to remember one series of characters
- Two-factor key device that plugs into your phone or computer to prevent others from using your device and accessing your information
- Microphone blocker to prevent hot mics with audio that hackers can access
Toy manufacturers are governed by the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, according to The Gentle Nursery, a site that reviews products and offers recommendations. Though toy recalls have dropped in the last 10 years, there are still concerns that many toys contain toxic materials. Products made with PVC, BPA, phthalates, and flame retardants have a high risk of contamination. Limit the time your children play with mainstream plastic toys and don’t let babies put pieces in their mouths.
The website offers a list of non-toxic products for babies, including:
- Uncle Goose - Every child deserves a set of wooden blocks, and this staple is made in the USA.
- Vulli - If you’ve been to a baby shower lately, you’ve probably met the popular teething toy “Sophie la Giraffe.” The same manufacturer has a line of natural rubber toys with food-based paint designs.
- Bears for Humanity - Stuffed animals are a classic, and these American-made teddy bears are organic using cotton with Global Organic Textile Standard certification.
- Finn + Emma - Rattles, teethers and play gyms come from many different countries and are made in fair trade settings using eco-friendly dyes and real wood.
Preventing Injury From Toys
An article on HealthyChildren.org talks about how to shop for toys that are less likely to cause harm to the user.
Read warning labels - It’s the simplest way to find out the materials the toys contain before you make your purchase.
Buy toys with large pieces - Kids are less likely to choke when pieces are too big for their mouths.
Choose sturdy toys - When products fall apart, they sometimes create sharp edges that can injure a child.
Don’t buy loud toys - High-decibel sounds may amuse the adults but can harm a child’s hearing.
Avoid hobby kits with chemicals - Gifts such as chemistry sets should be reserved for kids older than 12.
Follow age recommendations - Buy within the guidelines to reduce the threat of injury and maximize the child’s ability to play with the toy.
Consider making safety the theme of this year’s gifting for the adults on your list. If some of your holiday packages are for babies or young children, practice extreme vigilance when picking out toys to reduce the threats to their health and safety. At the end of the day, you want your holiday toy land to become a joy land that lasts year-round.
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