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Christmas gift buying tips: 6 safety questions

Christmas gift buying tips: 6 safety questions to think about

Shopping for children’s gifts is a serious business. Not only do you need to think about what a child wants or needs, but you also need to weigh the risks that could be attached to your choice. Safekids Aotearoa encourages parents to ask these six questions when buying gifts online or in store.

Are the button batteries secured? Many toys, musical cards and other Christmas products are powered by coin-sized lithium or button batteries that can cause serious injuries when swallowed or inserted in the nose or ears. Ensure that the battery compartments are secure, keep spare batteries out of reach, and if you even suspect a child has swallowed a battery, take the child to hospital immediately.

Is it age-appropriate? It’s about matching a toy with a child’s development and making sure it does not pose an injury risk. For example, any small toy or loose toy part that can fit inside a toilet roll is a choking hazard for children under the age of 3 years.

Does it meet NZ standards? Safety standards ensure products meet minimum safety requirements, so look for the “S” sticker. The following products sold in New Zealand must meet NZ standards: child restraints, scooters, safety helmets, toys for children under three years old, children's nightwear, household cots and bicycles.

Is it easy to install? Many large gifts, such as trampolines and bicycles, rely on the buyer’s ability to put it together. Get it wrong and you could risk an injury. Read the manufacturer’s instructions. If in doubt, get a professional to put it together.

Does it need a helmet? Always remember that it is the law to wear a helmet when cycling, even for small kids. It’s also a good idea to wear one when skating, skateboarding and scootering as it reduces the risk of severe brain injury by as much as 74%.

Does it require a pool fence? The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act (1987) states that any pool over 400mm deep must be fenced. This includes portable and inflatable pools.

Finally, Safekids Aotearoa wishes you a happy and safe holiday season! As a gift, please get your free Check For Me Before You Turn The Key keyring at

It will help remind you to walk around the car to check for children before getting in and turning the key.


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