Did you know that December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month? According to estimates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are over 250,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. each year for toy-related injuries. The majority of these affect children under age 15.

In recognition of this month’s focus on toy and gift safety during the holiday season, we’re offering some ideas to help you give safely as you buy that special something(s) for everyone on your list.

Give Age Appropriate Gifts

Most children’s toys have the age the product is intended for printed on the packaging. This serves a couple purposes. It lets you know children of certain ages will enjoy the product without finding it too advanced or too simple. It also indicates the age of the child the item is determined to be safe for.

Age-appropriate labeling can vary from video games and movies not meant for young children to toys with small parts that can be choking hazards for children under 3-years old.

Don’t Ignore Warning Labels

Warning labels exist for a reason. They may point out operational safety hazards manufacturers deem important to communicate to consumers. Some even may seem obvious and silly, but they’re noted because past consumers have been injured by using a product in a way it wasn’t intended.

In either case, read and respect all warning labels, and consider them when you intend to purchase an item as a gift. For example, if a warning label states a product isn’t for use around pets, it’s not ideal to give to a family member with furry companions.

Consider Who’s Receiving the Gift

In addition to paying attention to warning labels when shopping for others, it’s also important to think about the recipients’ preferences, abilities and health conditions.

Here are some examples: Consider food allergies if you think about giving a jar of assorted nuts. Remember if grandma has memory issues before buying her a candle she might forget to blow out. Don’t give a child with sensory issues a noisy toy. Make sure gifts intended for outdoor use are given to those with adequate outside space.

Pay Attention to Safety Recalls

Paying attention to safety recalls is especially important when giving items such as toys, baby equipment, electronics and tools. If you’re considering a certain item, or if you purchase a gift a while in advance of when you plan to give it, you can easily check for recalls by visiting cps.gov/Recalls. While recalled items and models are usually pulled from a store’s stock, sometimes they may remain available for purchase before being removed, especially during busy times of year.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

We’re glad to share these tips with you as we begin National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. We hope you find them useful as you and your loved ones celebrate a safe and happy holiday season!

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