Holiday Safety

The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. However, holiday traditions can involve some safety risks that may not be found at other times of the year. Health Canada reminds Canadians to follow these tips for a safe and happy holiday season.

Holiday lights and lighted decorations

  • Check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database before buying or using seasonal lights, as some may have been recalled.
  • Use lights that have the mark of an accredited certification agency, such as CSA, cUL or cETL.
  • Light strings and other lighted decorations, such as wreaths and reindeer, are rated for either indoor or outdoor use. Ensure that indoor lights and decorations are used only inside. Read the instructions on the package and do not exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Check all light bulbs, light strings and cords. Replace broken or burned-out bulbs, and discard any light strings or cords that are frayed, or that have exposed wires or loose connections.
  • For pre-lit trees and decorations, ensure that wires are securely fastened to the product and are not pinched if the product unfolds or moves during use.
  • Always turn off all holiday lights, lighted decorations, pre-lit trees and decorations before you go to bed or leave your home.

Holiday trees and decorations

  • When buying a real tree, make sure it’s fresh and water it daily.
  • Keep trees away from heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
  • Choose tinsel, ornaments, artificial icicles and other trimmings made of plastic or non-leaded metals.
  • Don’t let children put decorations in their mouths, as some may be harmful to their health.
  • Keep metal, sharp or breakable tree ornaments, and those with small removable parts or button batteries, away from young children.

Toys and gifts

  • Buy age-appropriate toys. Toys for older children may contain small parts or other hazards that may make them unsafe for young children.
  • Read and follow the labels, warnings, safety messages and other instructions that come with a toy.
  • Purchase sturdy, well-made toys that come with contact information for the manufacturer or importer.
  • Ensure batteries are properly installed by an adult and not accessible to children.
  • Make sure that button batteries (often found in musical greeting cards, small electronic devices, children’s books and flashing jewellery) stay securely in the products. Look for products with battery compartments that prevent easy access.
  • Supervise children at play and teach them to use their new toys safely.
  • Toys can be recalled for health or safety reasons.
  • Promptly remove and discard all toy packaging like plastic bags, plastic wrap, foam, staples, ties and protective film. A child can suffocate or choke on these items.

Thank you to the Healthy Canadians website for all this great information!

Understanding Toys by Age Group

Guest post by Joanna at Granville Island Toy Company

When babies make their entrance into the world, they aren’t able to do much for the first 3 months. At this stage, vision is blurry so bright bold patterns are best as well as black and white images. As the baby grows, toys that stimulate other senses are good such as squeaking or crinkling noise toys, toys that have texture, and toys that are soft and cuddly. Toys that can help relieve teething pain, such as teethers are great too!

As babies near their first birthday, it’s all about cause and effect. At this stage toddlers begin to make use of their newly acquired motor skills. In this instance, toys like stacking rings, nesting boxes, push or pull toys that make noise or have pieces that pop up and move are great. Four or five piece puzzles can help those little motor skills develop too.

There’s no such thing as the “terrible two’s” in our book. We like to call it the “independent twos” as these older toddlers like to imitate the actions of the grown-ups around them. Props for make-believe play such as toy telephones, tea-party sets and dolls that make-real life sounds are great. Self-propelled ride-on toys make a nice introduction at this stage as well.

By the time a child reaches 4 to 5 years of age, their learning ability increases dramatically. This is a great time to introduce interactive educational toys that teach math, verbal and social skills. Once a child turns 6 or 7 years old, it’s a lot easier to see what their own interests are. Some kids love doing science experiments (with a parent’s help), building things (lego) while others love arts and crafts.

At 8 years and older, many kids develop adult-like interests, abilities and hobbies and may even display a passion by becoming a collector. These are great years to help kids build a sense of mastery and competence. Kids also like working on longer projects, some of which may take days to complete. It’s also a great time to introduce board games that the whole family can get involved in playing.

For tons of amazing toy options, check out the Granville Island Toy Company. Don’t miss the grand opening, Saturday May 23rd, 2015 from 12 – 6pm at their new Marpole location (8710 Granville Street). There will be prizes, face painting, a gift with purchase, pinwheel discounts, and more!

Got Lego?

Santa’s coming soon and there will be new toys abound. Little ones overcome with excitement, big ones retreating to their rooms with the latest gadget in their hands. But what happens to all the old toys? The ones that lay forgotten and hidden in the corner or the ones lurking in storage and under beds? 

Well if any of them happen to be LEGO then we’ve got the perfect solution for you! Reclaim your storage space, provide room for the new toys and donate your LEGO to the Library!

That’s right! Donate it to the Library. We are accepting donations of LEGO at any branch so we can establish a monthly LEGO Club for kids (and any adults who want to come with their kids). The Club will start in January and will rotate between the three branches.

Why LEGO?
·        Building with Lego requires organization, planning, concentration and patience

·        Lego play encourages children to use critical thinking and creativity

·        Building with Lego improves fine motor skills

·        Group play helps children improve social skills and work cooperatively

·        Children are building valuable literacy skills as they build towers, trucks, dragons, pirate ships, castles and more!


So by establishing a LEGO Club, we’ll be building, developing and encouraging the growth of our youngest users and providing a good home for your old LEGO.

How to Donate:
Please drop off any LEGO at any NVDPL Branch. We will love it forever!