This past week, moms across the country have reached out to me asking for some advice on shopping for safe toys this holiday season. I’ve also heard many of them say that they’re just not going to buy toys this year, that they’re afraid that if something hasn’t been recalled it will be in a few weeks. I can’t say I blame them. I went shopping for my daughter’s birthday present this week and found myself scrutinizing every toy I picked up. If you are planning on buying toys this season, here are few things to keep in mind:
- Get Smart About Safety – It’s important to sign up for product recall notices from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov). They will be e-mailed on a daily basis. I also post all recalls on www.thesafetymom.com. Regardless of whether a toy has been recalled, if it appears to be dangerous, stay away from it! Toys with sharp objects, loose parts, rubber bands and small pieces are extremely dangerous.
- Read the Labels – Adhere to the age guidelines on a product. Even if you feel your child is more mature, the possibility of a choking or strangulation hazard is too great.
- Act Locally – Right now, the smaller independent toy stores are doing a bustling business. The majority of these stores stock higher-end items that are not carried in the mass merchandise stores. Very few of their items have been recalled and many are made in America.
- Stay off–line – This year, stay away from online shopping. Make sure to test out the toy and play with it to ensure it’s durable.
- Don’t Buy Into The Hype — It doesn’t matter if it’s the hottest toy this season or the must-have among your playgroup set, if you have doubts or concerns, err on the side of caution and don’t buy it.
- Consider Going Back To Basics — Books, CDs and even computer games are great gifts. And what young girl wouldn’t like a Hannah Montana poster?