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reviewed 7/26/2018

Gift safety and kids: True or false?

When you pick out gifts for young ones, you're probably focused on making them happy. But safety also matters when selecting presents for kids. Do you know how to tell if a gift is safe?

True or false: Minor cuts, scrapes and bruises are the most common injuries from toys.

True. Even so, toys can seriously injure your child or even be deadly. For instance, a toy may be a choking hazard or be dangerous when used in the wrong way. Warning labels give important information about how to use toys and what ages they are safe for. So always read labels. It's worth your time.

True or false: Chemistry kits are a good pick for young kids who love science.

False. Chemistry kits can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Most hobby kits should be off-limits for any children younger than 12. Make sure that older kids know safe alternative gifts for younger science-lovers—just check the recommended ages on the product.

True or false: Toys that make loud noises are smart gifts, especially since they can easily capture a child's attention.

False. Toys that make loud noises may damage a child's hearing. Even sounds that are safe when heard from afar may pose a risk if a child is holding the toy close to the ear. Noisy toys may include walkie-talkies, musical instruments, talking dolls, and vehicles that have horns or sirens. Test toys before buying.

True or false: If a toy has to be plugged into an electrical outlet, it's not safe for kids under 10.

True. Toys that have to be plugged into electrical outlets are dangerous—they can cause burns and electrical shocks. Kids younger than 10 should only play with screw-locked, battery-operated toys—but keep any devices with coin-sized lithium batteries away from youngsters. These can cause chemical burns as well as choking.

True or false: Stuffed animals and toys are the safest gift-giving option.

False. Not all stuffed toys are safe. Toys stuffed with small, bean-like pellets pose a choking risk for young children. Instead, choose well-made stuffed toys that have secure seams, are machine-washable and have all parts tightly in place. Also be sure to remove any strings or ribbons to help prevent strangling.

Toys aren't the only danger you should be aware of when it comes to kids and the holidays. But with a few precautions, you can help create a safer atmosphere for kids during the holiday season.

How to make holidays safe for kids

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; Safe Kids Worldwide; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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