When it comes to gifting, age should be considered, especially when kids are involved. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says about 86,000 children under age five are treated for toy-related injuries each year. Many small toys, or those with small pieces, are choking hazards for curious children who often put things in their mouths. Choking is the fourth-leading cause of unintentional death in children under age five. Falls, eye injuries, drowning, and motor accidents are also leading causes of gift-related injuries.
Here’s how to select age-appropriate gifts.
- Read the packaging carefully. Most children’s toys and products have a recommended age range, so choose gifts that fall within that range. This is particularly true for infants, toddlers, and any child under age five.
- Avoid fad gifts. Children want the latest gadgets and toys, even if they are not the smartest choices for their age. Resist the urge to buy something just to be the “cool parent or grandparent,” when it isn’t age appropriate.
- Provide safety gear. As children age, they become more interested in gifts that appeal to hobbies and abilities. Scooters, bicycles, and skates are popular among older children. Buy these gifts only for those with proven ability, and provide the necessary safety gear such as helmets, knee pads, and eye protection.
- Consider waiting before gifting certain electronics. Children may be able to use devices safely, but smartphones and tablets result in consequences due to excessive screen time. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says children ages two to five should limit non-educational screen time to about one hour per weekday, and three hours on weekend days.
Age-appropriate gifts ensure safety for the youngest people on holiday gift lists.