Safekids gift buying tips for a safe Christmas and summer

Safekids safe Christmas presents

Picking the right gift for the kids, family, and friends can be quite challenging. This holiday and summer season treat them with gifts, which they can enjoy and at the same time, help protect from injuries at home, at play, and on the road.

What to buy

A booster seat. Jazz it up and let their imagination run wild (tell them it's a rocket ship or a fairy chariot!). Remember, kids are safer in a booster seat until they're big enough to fit an adult seat belt properly. The easiest way to tell: if they're under 148 cm tall, they still need a booster seat.

All children's car seats (child restraints) for sale must comply with at least one of three Standards. Find out more in the March 2009 Touchstone article Safety first – Consumer New Zealand guide to buying second-hand cots, highchairs, children's car seats and strollers

A cycle helmet. If Lance Armstrong needs one, your kid will too. Let them pick their own helmet and remember to be a role model (buy and use one yourself).

Ensure the helmet complies with an approved standard for safety helmets. The approved standards for safety helmets are:

  • AS/NZS 2063:2008 Bicycle helmets; or
  • NZS 5439:1986 Specification for lightweight protective helmets for pedal cyclists; or
  • AS 2063.2 Pedal cycle helmets; or
  • any safety helmet manufactured to the Snell standard for protective headgear for use with bicycles; or
  • any safety helmet manufactured to ASTM F1447; or
  • any safety helmet manufactured to the Consumer Product Safety Commission Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets (reference 16 CFR) Part 1203, complying with the CPSC certification process.

A safety helmet must comply with the version of an approved standard for safety helmets that is applicable in the relevant standard-setting jurisdiction to the date of manufacture of the safety helmet (or as specified in the standard), or a more recent version of the standard if the safety performance of the safety helmet is not adversely affected.

Tools with safety locks. Nothing pleases dad more than a brand new power tool. Buy one with a safety lock and protect curious little hands by storing them out of children's sight and reach.

A portable pool fence. Owners of small or portable pools still need to comply with pool safety regulations. A portable/flexible pool fence is a perfect gift to help enjoy the summer season safely.

New Zealand Standard NZS 8500:2006 Safety barriers and fences around swimming pools, spas and hot tubs helps avoid a swimming pool-related drowning by presenting various options designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool area.

Smoke alarms. If you've visited a relative or a friend's house and notice that they don't have a smoke alarm, buy one as a present (don't forget the batteries). What better gift than one that could save their lives in a fire.

Read about how smoke alarms provide the best chance of the whole family surviving a house fire in the October 2009 Touchstone article Smoke alarms for houses – revised Standard published

What NOT to buy

Toys that are choking hazards. If a toy can fit inside the hole of a toilet roll, it is a potential choking hazard for babies and toddlers.

Read more about toy safety in the November 2009 Touchstone article Auckland importer warned by Commerce Commission

Baby bath seats and rings. Bath seats and rings give a false sense of security, and using one can be dangerous. Babies can slip or get trapped underwater.

Baby walkers. They could fall against fires, down stairs, and off decks if they use one. They could be burned by hot water from kettles or saucepans they shouldn't have been able to reach, or poison themselves with medications and cleaning products parents thought were stored high enough.

For more information in keeping kids safe at home, at play and on the road, visit www.safekids.org.nz

About Safekids New Zealand

Safekids New Zealand is the injury prevention service of Starship Children's Health and a member of SAFE KIDS Worldwide. Our mission is to reduce the incidence and severity of unintentional injuries to New Zealand's children aged 0 – 14 years. For more information contact Anthony Rola at anthonyr@adhb.govt.nz, visit www.safekids.org.nz, or call 09 631 0717.

Published in consumer and occupational safety.