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Shopping Tips for Safe Toys


Be a Responsible Santa

Shopping Tips for Safe Toys

December is the busiest gift-buying month of the year, and kid’s toys are usually #1 in the shopping list. To be a responsible Santa, how do you know that the toys you plan to buy are safe?

Every year children are seen at emergency departments with injuries caused by toys they’ve just received as Christmas presents. “Parents and gift givers should be Responsible Santas, making sure the toys they give are age appropriate and pose no threat of injury to a child,” said Ann Weaver, Director of Safekids New Zealand.

Safekids New Zealand, Plunket, and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs suggest the Christmas shopper “A & 4S” test when choosing toy gifts for the children.

• Age-Appropriate. Check the labels and see if the toy is appropriate for the age of the child receiving it.

• Size. If the toy or parts of it is smaller than a ping pong ball, it is a choking hazard and not suitable for a child under three years of age.

• Surface. Toys should not have sharp points or rough edges that a child could be scratched by, or on which they could cut or pierce themselves.

• Strings. Check that strings or tails on toys are not too long and are firmly attached to avoid strangulation injuries.

• Safety. Always include the necessary safety gear, especially for rideon toys (bicycles, skateboards and scooters). A great and economical gift planning idea is to have the grandparents or other family members buy the helmet for the ride-on toy you are purchasing.

Plunket also encourages adults to play with the kids and their new toys. “It’s all about having fun and making sure the toys they play with are appropriate for their age group,” Sue Campbell, Plunket National Child Safety Advisor.

And for second hand toys, check that parts are complete and fillers won't come off and pose a choking hazard. You can also check the Consumer Affair’s toy safety and product recall pages at

For more information of child injury prevention and safety messages, visit


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