There are few things more gratifying than seeing the joyful looks on your children’s faces when they open a Christmas present. Unfortunately, the product liability attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris know that toys aren’t always as safe as they should be.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 11 toy-related deaths and an estimated 265,000 toy-related injuries in 2012 in the U.S. Of those injuries, 72 percent occurred in children younger than 15. In 2007, there were over 19 million recalls worldwide because of safety concerns such as lead paint.

For this reason, December is designated as Safe Toys and Gifts Month to spread awareness and help protect children from toy injuries. Before you start your holiday shopping, check out these tips from our Houston personal injury attorneys.

Age appropriate: When purchasing toys for children, you should always be wary of giving something that is safe for their age. For example, babies should not have toys that include small removable parts that may be a choking hazard. Toys that have magnets or button batteries can be extremely hazardous if ingested. A good rule of thumb is that if a piece of the toy can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it shouldn’t be given to children younger than 3 years old.

Protective gear: If sports gear is on your shopping list, always accompany the equipment with the necessary safety gear for the child to use.

Inspections: Every toy should be inspected before purchasing, and parents should inspect the toys their children receive. Look for age restrictions, skill level indicators and developmental appropriateness before allowing your child to play with the toy.

Safety and warning labels: Toys that have passed safety inspection are labeled ATSM, which means it has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards. Always read the warnings and instructions that come with a toy.

Demonstrate: Before letting your children play with an approved toy, demonstrate proper use with them.

Supervise: Even with safe toys, it’s important to always supervise young children when they are playing.

If your child has been injured by an unsafe toy, contact the Houston personal injury lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers today.