Thanksgiving will be here this week and then it's, officially, the holiday season.

A lot of us will be heading out to the stores throughout the weekend for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and others to put a dent in our holiday shopping. For those of us who have kids, it becomes a really tall order.

While it is great to provide our kids with as many gifts to open as possible for the holidays, it is extremely important to make sure that the gifts we do buy for them are safe. Earlier this week, MASSPIRG, a consumer advocacy and lobbying organization, released their 33rd annual toy safety report to make shoppers aware of the hazards and dangers different toys can bring on.

Here's six of the toys that made the list:

1. Slime

While slime is not to be avoided 100-percent, MASSPIRG states that some slimes on the market have high levels of toxic boron -- which if ingested, can lead to nausea, vomiting and long-term reproductive health issues. It is advised that you either make slime yourselves at home, or monitor your children at all times while playing with it.

2. Toys With Sound

Again, they are not telling you to not buy any toys that make any noise. However, if you are shopping for a toy, you test it out and the sound is too loud for you, then it could, potentially damage your child's hearing. If it is a "must have toy" on their list, MASSPIRG advises to turn off the sound, remove the batteries or, simply, return it.

3. Fidget Spinners and Toys Marketed for Adults

I'll be honest, my son loves him some fidget spinners. The point is made, however, that these -- along with kids' makeup -- are not considered toys, which means they are able to avoid certain safety standards.

"These products could have higher levels of lead, choking hazards and other hidden dangers," says MASSPIRG in the report. "Avoid these 'toys,' or at a minimum watch your kid closely when playing with them."

4. Toys With Small Parts and Hatching Toys

This one is pretty obvious, especially when talking about younger children. MASSPIRG does offer some things to pay attention to if items like this are on your child's wishlist.

"Toys marketed to 6 and above may contain small parts that pose choking hazards for younger children. Look for age guidelines," they said. "Before your child plays with a toy for the first time, see if smaller parts fit through a toilet paper roll—indicating they pose a choking hazard."

5. Balloons

According to MASSPIRG, balloons are the no. 1 choking hazard for children and they recommend that any child under the age of 3 not play with them at all.

"Our survey found 87 percent of balloons marketed to very young children on Amazon lacked any choking hazard warning online," says the report.

6. Smart Toys

Sites, apps, games and smart toys to be exact in this category. The recommendation: "Consider running without connections to the internet, evaluate privacy policies when you first start them, and monitor use," MASSPIRG says. "The rapidly expanding number of so-called 'connected toys' may disclose private data and expose children to other risks—even violating children’s privacy laws."

Holiday shopping for kids is tough. Along with just hoping they are happy and appreciative that they got anything, we also have to keep in mind that they are enjoying them in a safe way. Happy shopping Berkshire County!



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