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Keeping Holiday Gifts Safe for Your Child with Special Needs
Published Dec. 14, 2018

By Beth Rubio, Chief Clinical Officer

What should I be concerned about in relation to holiday gifts and toys for my special needs child?

All children, including those with special needs and disabilities, love new, cool, fun things - especially when those things are toys! As a parent, it's not always easy to find, let alone choose, the right toys for a child with special needs. How do you know if a toy will match a child's abilities and be safe? Here are a few things to consider as you shop for your child with special needs this holiday season.

The importance of toys

Through the act of play, children can experience victories, imagine new worlds, and share the joy of learning. But accidents can happen, and rates of accidental injury are higher among children with special needs. This includes children with physical and psychological disabilities and is especially true for children with cognitive, emotional, and social limitations.

Toy Safety for Special Needs Children

While basic safety rules apply to all children, regardless of ability, special attention should be tailored to ensure a differently-abled child truly understands and internalizes how to play safely.  In addition, children should also be properly supervised.

Toy safety concerns are crucial as toys can often have harmful potential. It should be noted that unless you get an appropriately packaged product from a reputable American manufacturer you may not be getting what you hoped for. Appropriate packaging can ensure that the content originates from its designated source.

What further complicates toy safety is that the very packaging that you need to have can also be a safety hazard. Packaging can injure, suffocate, or trap your child. It is important that adults take away packaging as quickly as possible. Be aware of choking hazards such as twist ties, small plastic parts, and shrink wrap.

The holiday season is filled with joyous wonder. Taking a few small steps can ensure it is a safe season as well!