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Check gifts for safety, AG Cooper urges parents

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Dec. 20, 2012 | Modified: Dec. 20, 2012
Check gifts for safety, AG Cooper urges parents


Parents can help make sure their children’s holiday gifts are safe by taking a few simple steps.

“Parents work hard to find the best deals on toys and other holiday gifts,” N.C. Attorney General Roy 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.”

In a few days, children will unwrap presents 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 younger than 3 shouldn’t play with toys with small parts or pieces, and children younger than 8 should avoid toys with sharp edges and points.

— Study instructions before you let your children play with a new toy or gadget, then go over how to use the item with them. Decide whether or not children will be allowed to play with a new toy unsupervised. If you aren’t comfortable that your children 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 children 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 children have to agree to when using the device. A sample list of rules for computer and Internet access is available as part of the Internet safety toolkit at http://www.ncdoj.gov.

— Watch out for apps. Youngsters may be eager to download applications to their new electronic devices, but check out apps yourself before children 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 children’s 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 http://www.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 ratings.

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