Shopping for kids is a serious business and you want to be sure that the gifts you buy for your little ones are suitable, and safe as well as fun. According to Safekids Aotearoa, there's a sharp rise in serious child injuries during the holiday and summer periods—these include injuries caused by trampolines, bicycles and other popular Christmas gifts.
"Not only do we need to consider what a child wants, we also need to know the potential risks attached to the gift," Ann Weaver, Safekids Aotearoa director says.
“Parents should be aware of products that could be harmful to children under 5 years old, such as household items that are powered by button batteries, or small toys that are choking hazards."
Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s General Manager for Public Affairs, encourages parents to ask retailers for advice.
“If you have any questions or concerns, it’s a good idea to ask the store. Retailers will know their products, and can help answer any safety-related questions that people may have," Mr Harford said.
Below are six important safety questions to ask when buying presents this holiday season.
Is it age-appropriate?
Always check the packaging if a toy is suitable for your child’s age. REMEMBER—if it's small enough to fit inside a 3cm hole, or has loose parts that can, it is a choking hazard for children under 3 years old.
Does it meet NZ standards?
Safety standards ensure products meet minimum safety requirements. The following products sold in New Zealand must meet NZ standards (look for the “S” mark): child restraints, scooters, safety helmets, toys for children under three years old, children's nightwear, household cots and bicycles.
Is it under recall?
Make sure the product is safe or has not been recalled. You can check at www.recalls.govt.nz
Can you install it correctly?
You must assemble trampolines and bicycles correctly—get it wrong and your child risks injury. Follow the manufacturer’s assembly instructions, and if in doubt, get a professional to help. Some specialist bicycle stores can also assemble and fit bicycles for their customers.
Does it need a helmet?
By law, you must wear a helmet when cycling. It’s also a good idea for a child to wear one when skateboarding and scootering. When worn correctly, helmets reduce the risk of severe brain injury by as much as 74%.
Are the button batteries secured?
Many household items, toys, musical cards and other Christmas products are powered by powerful coin-sized lithium batteries that can cause serious injuries when swallowed or inserted in the nose or ears. Ensure battery compartments are secure. If you suspect a child has swallowed a battery, take the child to hospital immediately.
For more safety tips, visit www.safekids.nz