December is the biggest gift-giving month of the year. Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents are buying massive amounts of toys and gifts to ensure kids have a wonderful holiday season.

Unfortunately, December is also the month in which thousands of children are injured every year as a result of playing with unsafe or non age appropriate toys.  In the United States, emergency rooms treated 251,800 toy-related injuries, according to the report issued last year from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 44 percent of the injuries were to the head and face area, the area of the body with the most injuries. An estimated 84,400 of all toy-related injuries, or 34 percent, happened to children younger than 5 years of age.

Prevent Blindness America declared December Safe Toys & Gifts Month in order to reduce the number of accidents and injuries suffered by children due to unsafe or inappropriate toys during the holidays. Take the time this month to re-cap on some basic safety advice and brush up on buying safe tips, appropriate toys and what to do should you discover a potential hazard.

It’s important to think about the safety of any gift you’re giving, especially if it’s a gift for a child. We’ve put together a list of toys and gifts that are not only safe in themselves but also promote water safety awareness which is the first step towards drowning prevention.

Books

Josh The Baby Otter

“Josh the Baby Otter” was created to help children comprehend and remember this important message: TO STAY AWAY FROM WATER UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT. It’s goal is to create a water safety behavior for all children that will be passed on from generation to generation.

Stewie The Duck Learns To Swim

Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim is an important and fun child’s first guide to water safety. Written for children ages two through six, the book conveys the message of how to be safe near the water through the story of Stewie, a duck who wants to swim with the “big ducks” but is prevented from going in the water by his older sisters until he learns the water safety rules.


The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim

The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim follows the journey of a young polar bear named Zeke who is afraid of the water and refuses to swim. He leaves his home in search of other animals who do not swim, and ends up finding that he can enjoy the water if he follows the ABC and Ds of water safety, while learning a valuable lesson about facing his fears with a positive attitude.

Swimming Accessories

USCG approved lifevests

Getting kids to wear life jackets can be a cumbersome task — bulky neon padded vests don’t exactly shout cool.  But the risks of not wearing them are too great to ignore. The Center for Disease Control reports drowning to be the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death amongst children ages 1-14 behind motor vehicle crashes.  This can be a great gift that helps protect kids when in or near water.


Nekdoodle® Pool Toys and Accessories

Nekdoodle® offers a wide variety of pool toys and accessories for kids and adults such as pool floats for swimming, swim collars, pool noodles, water noodles, personal flotation devices, neck floats and foam noodles swimming.

Swim Water Shoes

Water shoes have a great many uses, and can do much more than flip-flops or sandals can. They will keep children’s feet protected from slips, sharp rocks, sunburns and much more making them a good choice as a holiday gift.

Toys

Stewie the Duck Swimtime Fun Bucket Kids Gift

This gift can help save a life! Upon purchase of this gift, a donation will be made to the Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities, which grants underprivileged children with FREE swim lessons.It includes a Stewie the Duck book,bright, sunshine yellow hooded towel featuring Stewie the Duck, a Stewie the Duck plush, and bath time toy. All bundled in a playful bucket and shovel set, with helpful water safety advice.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision offer some great guides for selecting suitable toys for Kids Ages 0 – 5 and Kids Ages 6 – 12.