How to Choose Safe Holiday Gifts for Children
It’s that time of the year again: the holidays are just around the corner and people are thinking about what gifts to give to the special people in their lives. For many people, that includes young children – whether it’s their own kids or their grandchildren, their nieces and nephews, or the children of their friends. But kids can be a challenge shop for. Not only do you need to think about what they’d like, you need to think about what is safe and appropriate for them to play with. So how do you know a toy is safe to give as a gift?
Check the Label & Packaging
Product packaging can tell you a lot about the safety of a product. Look for words like “non-toxic,” “flame retardant,” and “UL approved.” These types of labels will let you know that the product meets important safety standards.
Choosing Age Appropriate Toys
Age recommendations are another key piece of information you’ll find on a product’s packaging. Ideally, this information will be accurate, but you can also look at the product itself to judge whether or not it is safe for a child’s age. Generally speaking, if you’re shopping for infants, toddlers, or preschoolers, it’s important to think big – or at least big enough to not pose a choking hazard. Products that involve magnets, marbles, or small, button-style batteries should be avoided since they can be choking hazards for young children. Kidshealth.org recommends that toys be at least 1¼ inches in diameter and at least 2¼ inches long so that they’re too large to be swallowed or get stuck in a child’s windpipe.
Check for Recalls
Unfortunately, just because a product is being sold in a store, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s free of safety issues. When a product is recalled, stores are supposed to stop selling it so that unsuspecting consumers don’t end up with unsafe products. However, stores aren’t always as diligent about this as they should be and it’s not unheard of for recalled products to continue being sold. Also, if you’re a fan of doing your holiday shopping throughout the year, there’s a chance a toy you bought months ago has been recalled for safety issues in the time since.
Remember, not all unsafe products get a lot of media attention like those exploding hoverboards did a few years back. It’s very common for people to not be aware of product recalls. To find out if a product has been recalled, check the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Recall Lookup tool.
Product Design & Quality
Having a toy quickly break after buying it isn’t just frustrating, it can potentially be dangerous. If you’re looking at a stuffed animal, for example, examine the toy to make sure the stitching is secure so that a child won’t be able to pull the stuffing out of it. If a toy requires batteries, do the batteries go in a compartment that a child could easily open on their own or does it require a tool like a screwdriver to open? Does the plastic feel sturdy or does it feel flimsy, like it could easily break into small pieces? Are there long strings that could be a choking hazard? All of these can be important clues about how safe it will be for a child.
Contact a Michigan Product Liability Lawyer
If you or your child has been injured by a defective product, it’s important to have someone on your side who can help. Product liability lawyers understand the law and how it applies to your case. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’re experienced in helping people who have been harmed by unsafe products in the state of Michigan. Contact us today to find out how we can help.
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