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Picking holiday presents for the children

Monday, December 11, 2017

As shoppers get into the holiday spirit, keeping a few gift-giving guidelines top of mind while picking presents for young ones can help ensure the season is safe as well as merry and bright.

Turns out, it is not quite as simple as just choosing an item from a child’s wish list.

“All toys are not for all children,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

Age, skills and interests should pay a big role in what ultimately winds up in neatly wrapped boxes topped with colorful bows.

“Read the descriptions, instructions and warning labels on the packaging of toys and games and match them to the child’s age and level of development,” Peek said. “You should also consider the child’s temperament, habits and maturity.”

Generally, fabric toys should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant and art materials should be nontoxic.

Keep in mind small toys or toys containing small pieces and parts are choking hazards for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, especially for children ages 3 or younger.

If a toy or part of a toy fits inside a toilet paper roll, it is too small for young children.

Be cautious with magnets, too. The U.S. Consumer Product Commission recommends high-powered magnet sets should be restricted to children over age 14, while building and play sets featuring small magnets should be kept away from young children.

Other hazards for young ones include toys and games with sharp ends or small parts that can be pulled loose, long strings and parts that could pinch fingers.

Riding toys always are popular options for older children, of course.

However, parents, grandparents and caregivers leaning toward gifting bicycles, scooters, skateboards and other riding or wheeled toys also should include a helmet that meets all current safety standards and safety gear such as hand, wrist, knee and shin guards.

Toy darts and arrows should have soft tips or suction cups on their ends.

“Shopping for children during the holidays is fun,” Peek said. “Following a few smart, easy precautions when choosing their gifts will go a long way toward making sure celebrations are safe as well as enjoyable.”

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