Safe gift-giving for children during the holidays

(Photo courtesy of Janelle Villagracia)

By Mariela Angella Oladive

Much like the familiar jingles that fill the air, the act of exchanging gifts during special occasions, especially Christmas, remains a cherished custom in the Philippines and fosters closer bonds between families and communities.

As we play the role of modern-day Santa Claus to spread joy among children, it’s crucial to consider selecting age-appropriate gifts.

The Department of Health (DOH)-6 emphasizes the importance of adhering to safety guidelines.

“When buying gifts this season, opt for safe and age-appropriate gifts that are suitable for a child’s development. Also, avoid gifts that can be harmful and pose a choking hazard to children. Always remember that we have age-appropriate gifts,” said Dr. Fritzi Ann Suzette Jeroso-Dequito, DOH-6 Health Promotion Unit head.

A safe toy, as defined by the DOH, “is one that is suited to a child’s physical capabilities, mental and social development, durable, and fit for the child’s age.”

-Newborns to One-Year-Olds: Choose toys like rattles, large brightly colored balls, washable stuffed dolls, and animals with big, defined faces.

-Two to Three-Year-Olds: Opt for wooden animals, dolls, sturdy kiddie cars, and rocking horses.

-Four to Five-Year-Olds: Consider push toys, building blocks, balls, kites, and bicycles.

To ensure safety, always check packaging labels and follow the safety guides of FDA-registered children’s toys. Adult supervision is crucial during playtime, and it’s advised to dispose of plastic packaging properly and keep it out of children’s reach.

The DOH also cautions against specific toys not recommended for children under three years old, such as balls with a diameter of 1.75 inches or less, toys that easily break into small parts, items with small detachable components, and those with sharp points or edges that could pose choking hazards.

As an additional safety measure, consumers are urged to purchase toys exclusively from legitimate toy stores. By following these guidelines, gift-givers can ensure a joyous and risk-free celebration for the little ones during this festive season.