With the holidays approaching, holiday sales are at a peak. We are not only buying new products for loved ones and friends, but are receiving gifts ourselves. Some of us are even buying items as gifts for ourselves. All this hectic shopping can cause injuries if we are not careful. Each year, holiday gifts and holiday decorations cause personal injuries and lawsuits. While everyone has less time at this time of year, here are some simple precautions to take when giving and receiving gifts:
1) Do not assume that retailers and gift-givers are being cautious. Yes, retailers are required to remove recalled items from store shelves, but each year some recalled items continue to be sold, both online and in stores. Check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission about products you give and receive. Keep in mind, too, that some gift givers may have completed their gift shopping early this year and may not have checked to see whether any products they purchased have been recalled.
2) Exercise extra precaution when giving and getting toys. The 2008 holidays seem to be a safer season, with only about 74 toys recalled this year. However, new recalls will be emerging, so keep abreast of these notices in the media. Some toys that have been found to cause injuries to minors and children include the Rage Wireless Guitars for Nintendo’s Wii game system and Nerf Blasters.
3) Fill out warranty and registration cards right away for the gifts you receive. As you introduce plenty of new products into your home, it can be hard to keep track of all the recalls. Filling out the cards takes only minutes and allows manufacturers to contact you in the event of a recall.
4) Read the instructions. When you receive a new product or your child receives a new toy, read the user’s manual or instruction booklet. This documentation often has useful information about how the product should be used. Using products incorrectly can lead to personal injury.
5) Use extra caution with products bought used or bought through independent online sellers (such as eBay). When buying online or used products there is less assurance that recalled products are not part of the mix and it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that products they buy are safe. Keep in mind that when you receive gifts you have no idea where a gift-giver purchased them, so do use caution.