The older kids get, the less parental supervision they want. Some kids will even go to great lengths to escape their parents’ watchful eyes—hiding in the basement or attic, staying up late to play, or claiming they were “studying” at a friends’ house when they were actually watching TV.
All these are part of growing up; kids want to be their own person, someone whose identity isn’t dependent on mom or dad.
That doesn’t mean you as parents won’t do all that they can to make sure that their kids are safe and that they grow up to be good people. Try as you might to supervise your kids every time they’re out playing, you can’t be omniscient and omnipresent. Sometimes, the best you can do is make sure their toys are safe and teach them proper safety guidelines.
With the holiday season coming up, here are the safety standards you should be looking for when choosing Christmas gifts for 10-year-olds.
General safety guidelines on choosing gifts for all ages
KidsHealth has compiled a list of general safety guidelines when it comes to buying gifts for kids of all ages. Here’s what you need to look for when buying gifts for babies and kids:
1. Flame resistant. The fabric used in toys must be flame resistant or retardant.
2. Washable. Toys, even plushies, should be easy to clean and wash.
3. Lead-free. The paint used in toys must be lead-free.
4. Non-toxic. Art materials, such as crayons and paints, should be nontoxic. Look for the ASTM D-4236 label, as this means the toy is approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
5. Noise appropriate. Make sure the toy isn’t too loud when played or used. Musical or electronic toys can be very loud, which can damage your kids’ hearing.
How to buy safe gifts for 10-year-olds
Intopten.com has a list of the best gifts for 10-year-old boys, and topping the list are pogo sticks and walkie-talkies. Does safety mean forgoing fun toys and buying your children a nice, softbound, plastic-covered book instead?
The truth is, there’s no such thing as a toy with zero risks.
Kids are creative; they can probably find ways to endanger themselves with a soft white pillow, let alone a book they can hurl across the yard. They’re children—there’s no point in getting them a boring gift they’ll hate and never play with.
That being said, cool and fun toys should still be compliant with safety standards. Here are must-dos when choosing toys for 10-year-olds.
Skip the hand-me-downs. If safety is your top concern, don’t give old or hand-me-down toys as these may not pass the current safety standards.
Buckle down. Ensure that your kids use helmets and other recommended safety gear (e.g., shin, hand, and wrist guards) when playing with ride-on toys, such as bicycles, scooters, hoverboards, and skateboards. Look for CPSC or Snell certification on the labels.
Get quality nets. Nets should be well made and firmly attached to the rim. Otherwise, these nets can become strangulation hazards.
Weapons aren’t toys, and toys aren’t weapons. When choosing pretend weapons:
- Ensure that the ends of toy darts or arrows should be suction cups of soft tips instead of pointy material.
- Choose toy guns in bright colors so they can’t be mistaken for real weapons.
- Teach your children to never point toy weapons at anyone.
- Always choose age-appropriate toys, as there are some toys that should only be played by kids over 16 years old.
Check the label. Electric toys should be labeled UL, an indication that they are approved by Underwriters Laboratories.
Keeping toys safe at home
The first step toward safety is buying safe toys. The second is keeping them safe while at home. KidsHealth recommends the following steps to ensure continued safety:
- Teach kids to take care of their things and put toys away.
- Regularly check toys for breaks and damages. Rust, sharp edges, and frayed wires should be remedied right away. Discard immediately when toys are unusable or pose risks.
- Throw away broken toys or repair them right away.
- Store outdoor toys properly when they're not in use, so they're not exposed to rain or snow.
Choosing safe toys for 10-year-olds isn’t a difficult task when you know what to look out for.
Remember: the real gifts you’re giving your kids are these lessons on safety and the assurance that you’re always looking out for them—gifts that’ll be useful for the rest of the year and for the years to come.
Print out this checklist or bookmark it on your phone, so you can bring these safety guidelines with you when you go shopping.