RALEIGH — Parents can help make sure their kids’ holiday gifts are safe by taking a few simple steps, said Attorney General Roy Cooper.
“Parents work hard to find the best deals on toys and other holiday gifts,” Cooper said. “But parents’ work doesn’t end once all the gifts have been opened. Check your kids’ gifts to make sure they’re safe and age-appropriate.”
Today children will unwrap holiday packages and start playing with their new toys. Check to see if gifts from friends, family members and even Santa include items that have been recalled as unsafe for children or that need parental supervision to be used properly, Cooper warned parents.
To check out gifts’ safety:
• Read labels that list the appropriate age for some toys. It may not be safe to let younger children play with toys designed for older children due to choking hazards and other risks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, children under age three shouldn’t play with toys with small parts or pieces, and children under age eight should avoid toys with sharp edges and points.
• Study instructions before you let your kids play with a new toy or gadget, then go over how to use the item with them. Decide whether or not kids will be allowed to play with a new toy unsupervised. If you aren’t comfortable that your kids can use a toy safely, don’t let them play with it.
• Check recalls for toys, electronics and other household items by visiting the Consumer Product Safety Commission. You can also sign up to get emails about future recalls and report unsafe products.
• Remember online safety for new tablets, laptops, phones, or other devices that get Internet access. Enable filtering software or parental monitoring, and remind kids not to post or share personal information or photos that could fall into the wrong hands. Consider including with the gift a list of rules that kids have to agree to when using the device. A sample list of rules for computer/Internet access is available as part of the Internet safety toolkit at www.ncdoj.gov.
• Watch out for apps. Kids may be eager to download applications to their new electronic devices, but check out apps yourself before kids get to use them. Some supposedly free apps can actually cost you quite a bit of money, especially if used on a device or account that is linked to a credit card. A recent study by the Federal Trade Commission also found that many kids’ apps collect personal information and share it with advertisers and others, often without giving you notice. More tips on checking out apps are available from the FTC at onguardonline.gov.
• Make sure games are age-appropriate. Computer and video games are popular holiday gifts, but not all games are created for kids. To find age-appropriate games, check the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings.
For more information visit www.ncdoj.gov.