With just one more sleep to go until Father Christmas puts in an appearance, families with young children everywhere will be eagerly anticipating the joy and festivities that are to come.
Little ones are inevitably treated to piles of new toys at this time of year and Christmas morning can become a whirlwind of torn wrapping paper and exclamations of delight at what's inside all those parcels under the tree.
However, exciting though this day will be, it's vital for parents of the youngest tots to stay vigilant in order to ensure they are safe and everyone enjoys a healthy, happy December 25th and beyond. There are many more hazards around from toys at this time of year, so identifying them and heading them off is the best thing to do where your kids are concerned.
Follow these tips to nip any festive toy-related dangers in the bud.
Stick to age recommendations
All toys have an age recommendation on them, usually with a baby's face and then the ages for which the toy is unsuitable crossed through in red. While you will no doubt have carefully checked everything you're sending off to Santa, can you be sure your friends and family have too?
Take a quick look at everything the child opens and if anything isn't age-appropriate, quietly use a distraction technique to take it from them and put it to one side. It can then go away in a safe place until the child is old enough. If the buyer acts put out, don't feel guilty and stick to your guns (as kindly as possible) by thanking them for something the youngster can grow into.
Beware small parts
Although most toys for babies and toddlers will be in as few pieces as possible, a minority have a dizzying number of parts - and if they're small, that could present a choking hazard. Again, vet gifts and remove anything that could come off in children's mouths. As a general rule, that's anything small enough to pass through a loo roll tube.
Don't forget batteries either, especially the little button ones that come in talking books and even cards, as they may get swallowed unnoticed otherwise.
Watch out for gift-wrap
Some people like to decorate their presents with ribbons, bows and all manner of other embellishments, but this can present a danger for babies and toddlers. Parents can mitigate this by putting wrapping paper, bows and anything else wrapping or packaging-related into a dustbin liner as soon as they are removed.
This can then be taken straight to the bin (perhaps after a final check for envelopes with money in or other mislaid gifts!) once it's full. Also, do a quick check of the carpet afterwards in case any twist ties got missed that could later go into little mouths.
Keep older kids' toys separate
When families have more than one child, each one will undoubtedly be getting presents tailored specifically for them. However, older children's toys can sometimes look very appealing to toddlers, especially if they bleep and flash.
Prevent tots from playing with what they shouldn't by giving everyone their own plastic toy box and encouraging the older ones to only get one thing out at a time, then putting it away before going on to the next item.
Take care with ride-ons
Some children will be lucky enough to receive ride-on toys this Christmas and amid all the hustle and bustle, they could climb on unnoticed - and then fall off. Nobody wants to see broken bones over the coming days, so make sure you or someone else is there ready to help them on, hold them on if necessary, and lift them off again.
Take extra care at other people's homes
A lot of us will be spending at least one day over the festive period at someone else's house and although they're sure to do their utmost to ensure their home is welcoming, it might not be quite as child-proof as your own property.
Take special care if they've got items out for older kids or you spot any really obvious hazards, but supervise them more closely anyway so they're not getting into anything they shouldn't.
Following this advice should mean the chances of accidents happening are vastly reduced and you can get on with enjoying Christmas. And remember that should something from us be under your tree, our toys are all rigorously safety-tested here at TP Toys and Pillow Pets to give you extra peace of mind.