Health

A Safe Holiday is the Best Gift of All

‘Tis the season when family members and friends are rushing all over buying presents for loved ones. San Diego County and Health and Human Services Agency officials have some gift-giving safety tips to keep in mind to help you avoid any unfortunate accidents this holiday season.

“The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends and the last thing anyone wants is an unfortunate accident to happen,” said San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts. “Following some practical gift-giving tips will go a long way toward preventing accidents and injuries to young children.”

County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., recommends keeping four main safety tips in mind when shopping.

1) Read the product label. Make sure the toy is age appropriate and any warning label will give important information on safe use of the toy. Electronic toys should be “UL Approved.”

2) Think BIG. If you’re buying gifts for small children, make sure all toys and toy parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking. Examine the size, structure and how the toy is made: plastic toys should be sturdy, make sure the label says “non-toxic” and avoid toys that are loud that could damage your child’s hearing. Even stuffed animals should be checked to make sure any parts are attached securely.

3) Always ensure that helmets and appropriate safety equipment are given at the same time as presents like skateboards, bicycles, scooters, or roller blades. Never give a shooting toy without eye protection.

4) Even when the gift is for an older child or adult, if a young child is in the home, make sure that gift is childproof. Always assume the small child will have access to that gift.

“Toys can be an important part of a child’s development as long as they are appropriate and safe,” said Wooten. “Common sense should prevail when giving gifts this holiday season.”

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact