Gift-giving is in the air as the holidays quickly descend on us! Whether you’re a planner and have been buying gifts all throughout the year, or you’re more of a last-minute shopper, before wrapping up those gifts, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
Also, don’t miss the infographic at the end of this post with more information!
We all love a good deal, but sometimes you have to wonder: Why is that toy so much cheaper than others like it? There could be a number of reasons, including:
- Flimsy or unstable parts
- Unsafe materials/ingredients such as lead or arsenic
- Poor design or engineering
- A lack of rigorous safety testing
Product companies are looking to turn a profit, and in some cases that means ignoring safety concerns and using cheaper, often less safe materials and designs. This is especially true of lesser-known and “knock-off” brands that have less capital than their larger competitors, and who make take shortcuts to keep production costs down.
No matter if you’re buying gifts from big brands or relatively unknown companies, always test out the products ahead of time. If you’re shopping online, read the reviews – especially any negative ones that might offer insight as to the safety of the device.
Secondhand and Refurbished Gifts
Buying gifts at thrift stores, consignment shops, rummage sales, and online marketplaces like Ebay or Craigslist can be a great way to find good deals without breaking the bank. However, you need to be especially careful when buying things from these outlets to make sure the gifts you purchase are safe. Some things to keep in mind:
- Avoid buying secondhand baby furniture or equipment, as safety standards have changed significantly for these items in recent years.
- Helmets and safety pads are good to wear when biking, skating, or doing similar activities – but they probably should be bought new rather than used.
- Look for chips, dents, cracks, and other signs of wear that could pose a safety hazard.
- Check to see if there are any missing parts that could compromise the item’s safety.
- Search to see if there are any recalls or alerts on the items.
In most cases, there’s nothing wrong with buying something secondhand. Just remember to give whatever you buy a good wash when you get home.
Keep it Age Appropriate
Parents always want to believe their own children are ahead of the curve when it comes to intelligence and capabilities. However, if a toy says “Ages 3+” on it and your son or daughter is only 2, why would you want to risk the chance that they could get hurt?
Toy safety standards are published by ASTM International, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission requires all toys sold in the U.S. as of 2008 to follow those standards. (Before that, it was an industry that many, but not all, toy manufacturers follow.) Toys also need to go through third-party testing and certification to make sure they are safe and appropriate for children of various ages.
Therefore, when buying a toy for your son or daughter, niece or nephew, grandchild, or even the kid of a friend, it’s important to read the label and only get them a toy in the appropriate age range.
Holiday Toy Safety Infographic
Want to remember some of the most important tips when it comes to both saving money and buying safe toys and gifts for the holidays? We’ve put together the infographic below to help you. Feel free to share!