The holiday season is a time for visiting with friends and family and for the giving and receiving of gifts. There is no better feeling than giving someone just the right present and watching their face light up. But the gift-giving season also creates some safety issues. Every year thousands of products are recalled from stores, yet still end up under the Christmas tree. For example, a recall has already been issued this year for 7.2 million single-serving Keurig coffee makers, predicted to be one of the most popular gifts this Christmas.1
If you are concerned about a particular present, the government provides an online resource for determining what safety hazards a product may pose and what recalls it may be subject to. Many agencies are also involved in the recall process for all different types of products. Together they have created recalls.gov as a one-stop location for getting recall information on almost any product imaginable. This site allows you to search for specific recalls as well as check lists of products that may have been recently recalled.2
There are a number of situations where you should be particularly diligent about checking for recalls or safety hazards. An item that has been re-gifted or stored for an extended period is more likely to have been recalled or had a defect discovered than an item that was recently purchased. Furthermore, many items made outside the United States are not subject to the same standards as domestic items and may be more dangerous.
Finally, gifts given to children deserve special scrutiny. A child may not recognize warning signs of a malfunction that would cause an adult to investigate or dispose of the product. Even in situations where it is obvious something is wrong with the toy a child may not seek help.
The vast majority of gifts given during the holiday season are perfectly safe. But with the massive volume of merchandise out there it is inevitable that some of it will pose a safety concern. Be sure to take the time to ensure the quality and safety of the gifts you give and receive this season. A quick bit of research could be the difference between an accident and a happy holiday.
About the Author: Courtney Van Winkle is a personal injury attorney for the law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. She works primarily out of the Richmond and Short Pump offices. In a career spanning over 20 years, Courtney has handled personal injury cases including catastrophic injury, brain injury, distracted driving accidents and wrongful death across the state.