Christmas Gifts You Should Not Buy for Your Kids

According to a recent paper in the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, nearly 150,000 kids end up in emergency rooms due to toy-related injuries. More than a third are due to “ride-on” toys such as scooters, bicycles, and skateboards. The others spread the gamut of the toy and play universe. It’s reasonable to assume that just because a product is on the shelf does not mean it’s good for a child.

We deal with personal injury cases of all varieties and many are tragic and often avoidable. So this Christmas we’re offering up some of our own wisdom about a few presents that might seem tempting and out-of the-ordinary choices for your kids but really should be avoided.

Trampolines: This is the granddaddy of no-no toys for the kids. Yes, they’re immense fun, but the plain truth is that trampolines are truly dangerous, accounting for 95,000 serious injuries in 2012. A single jumping child may land on his head or simply lose control and fall off the trampoline, getting a bruise or breaking a bone. But the real danger starts when kids jump together on the trampoline. And there is no force strong enough in the universe to prevent them from doing so. If you already have a trampoline, sell it or check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) site for trampoline safety info.

Magnets: Magnets are always really fun to play with, especially when paired together or with other small pieces of metal. And however fun magnets can be, they can pose serious dangers to children, especially the small, powerful “rare-Earth” variety. They’re so small and powerful that if a child swallows a couple, they can connect in separate parts of the digestive tract, rupturing or blocking intestines. Acknowledging the danger, The CPSC has tried to ban the sale of loose rare-earth magnets, yet they are still readily available and inexpensive. If you have some, keep them well away from small children.

Pocket Knives and Multi-Tools: Just because Granddad had one doesn’t make it any safer. A pocket knife or its modern equivalent, the multi-tool, is certainly akin to a trampoline: It’s not a matter of if someone’s going to get hurt, it’s a matter of when. And these days manufacturers are trying to get you to buy them for kids. Leatherman is recalling the child-aimed “Leap” multi-tool because, “The lock mechanism on the optional knife blade can inadvertently release the blade, posing a laceration hazard.” We would posit that any knife in the hand of a child poses a laceration hazard.

Laser Pointers: We added this to the list because not a week ago we saw a laser pointer being displayed in a checkout line next to some action figures and yo-yos. Yes, they’re quite convenient for lectures and business meetings, but they’re also irresistible to little kids. Once amusing the family cat gets old, shooting this little beam of light into the eyes of all those nearby takes over. While most only cause “flash blindness” there are some pointers out there powerful enough to damage your eyesight for days and even permanently. We predict that it’s only a matter of time before these handheld devices are even more strictly limited.

If you’re interested in avoiding some dangerous toys you can buy now, check out this article describing 24 of the more hazardous ones. Also, be sure to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for more toys and products that have been recalled or that you should avoid. Keep your Christmas merry and uneventful.