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Last-Minute, Safe Gift Ideas

Last-Minute, Safe Gift Ideas

In my last blog I wrote about a report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group called “Trouble in Toyland.” It was their 23rd annual report recommending what toys not to buy for Christmas. It warned against small toys that children could choke on, toys with small powerful magnets and toys that might contain toxic chemicals like lead and phthalates.

Since Christmas is coming and we collectively need to spend a million gazillion dollars to get our economy going again, I thought I focus on what to buy if you are in the market for some fun and safe gifts. The following are some items and brands I have encountered over the last year.

Melissa and Doug toys: Melissa and Doug manufacturers and sells a wide variety of toys from puzzles to stuffed animal to arts and crafts supplies. They proudly share their philosophy on toy safety in their online Safety Statement. This is one toy company that not only talks the talks but walks the walk. They actually test their toys and test them frequently to make sure their toys are safe. Melissa and Doug toys are also listed on a great web resource,

SoMi Baby sleep sacks: My friends and family are popping out babies left and right. In the search for a unique gift, I came across SoMi Baby sleep sacks. By law, infant sleepwear must be flame-resistant, but to achieve the necessary flame resistance, chemicals are often added to the fabric. The SoMi sleep sacks use an all-natural flame-retardant material.

Blabla dolls: If you are looking for a somewhat odd and irresistibly cute doll, try a Blabla Boogaloo. If nothing else, the name is fun to say. These products have been tested and meet European standards of safety which are often much more progressive than U.S. standards.

Bell bike helmets: For the kids who have bikes, roller blades, etc., why not consider giving a safety accessory like a bike helmet. My wife’s parents gave me a cool helmet to protect my dome this ski season and I can’t wait to use it (thanks Betty and John). Make sure the helmet is CPSC certified which means it meets the Consumer Product Safety Commissions helmet impact standards.

These are just a few ideas. There are many other safe, fun and irresistible toys and gifts available this holiday season. Happy shopping!

Read more: Babies, Children, Christmas, Green Gifts, Hanukkah, Holidays, Life, , , , , ,

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Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with over 10 years of experience working in the environmental and occupational health field. In addition to writing, he is currently the Environment, Health and Safety Manager for a medium-sized company that has been voted one of Fortune Magazine’s Best Places to Work For and one of CRO Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens. He lives in California with his wife and adopted pound puppy.


+ add your own
12:51PM PST on Nov 28, 2012


10:34AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:21PM PST on Feb 29, 2012


1:34PM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

Thank you

9:59AM PST on Dec 11, 2010


12:36AM PST on Dec 11, 2010

Thanks for the article.

12:09AM PDT on Jun 16, 2010

Thanks for sharing

9:35PM PDT on Jun 6, 2010

Bike helmets? Really? If their parents are halfway conscientious, kids with bikes already have helmets. If their parents are lax about safety, they'll see it as a boring, useless gift, and they won't wear it because their parents won't make them. Also, bike helmets for kids need to be individually fitted, so unless you have the measurements of the kid's skull you're likely to get the wrong size or model.

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