Whether you shop online or scour the stores, picking out the perfect gifts for the little ones on your list can put you in the holiday spirit. Help the toy-loving kiddos in your life have fun and stay safe by keeping these tips in mind while you shop.

  • Avoid the noise. Toys that are too loud can damage the sensitive hearing of little ones.
  • Be a softie. Avoid toys with sharp points and edges. Soft tips and suction cups are your best bet when buying toys with darts or arrows.
  • Buy non-toxic. Non-toxic crayons, markers and glue are the way to go. Buy the washable brands, and you’ll score even more points with the parents.
  • Choose wisely. Make sure toys are right the child’s age, skill level and interests.
  • Consider size. The bigger the better for the under 3 crowd. If a toy can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it’s a possible choking hazard.
  • Go full gear. Add on some protective gear when gifting sports equipment.
  • Keep it short. Pick toys with cords or strings shorter than 12 inches.
  • Look at the label. ASTM means the toy meets national safety standards. High-tech toys should carry the UL inspection label.
  • Make it durable. Select sturdy toys whose parts don’t easily come apart.
  • Read up on recalls. Check cpsc.gov for the latest.