Key characteristics to look for in holiday gifts for your baby

If your pregnancy is coming to an end and the holidays are near, you can expect to receive a slew of gifts from friends and family members to welcome your baby. Everything from bibs to toys are likely going to be wrapped just for you, but how do you know which gifts are right for your child?

You may be inclined to use everything that comes your way, especially if you're on a budget and can't afford to buy many baby accessories on your own. However, not all toys are suitable for newborns. That being said, you'll want to keep a few factors in mind as you unwrap holiday gifts for you and your child.

Age appropriateness
This one should be a given, but in case you have any questions as to whether a toy will be age appropriate for your little one, read the label. Everything from toys to clothing designed for infants is labeled with information to let parents know what age they're made for, whether it's three months or three years of age.

As a rule of thumb, it's a good idea to steer clear of toys that have small pieces or components that could make their way into the child's mouth. These types of items can pose a choking hazard.

Size and weight
Some items are downright larger than life, whether it's a toy car that a child can ride in or a doll. That being said, you'll want to consider size and weight when thinking about giving a certain toy to a child. Could the item potentially roll onto your infant and cause an injury? Is it too large for your baby to move on his or her own? If so, you might want to hold off on giving your child the gift - wait until he or she is big enough to handle the load.

Extra accessories
Many toys have accessories that can pose a hazard to your infant, but they may not immediately be obvious. For instance, a long string, buttons or a zipper can all be dangerous. Some of these additions can increase the risk for injury and may need to be removed before you give your infant the item. Don't forget to look for price tags and labels that should be removed before giving the gift to a child as well.

Rough edges
Regardless of the size of a toy, it can be a threat to your child if it has sharp corners or rough edges, which are typically key features of building blocks. Keep these traits in mind when you're going through gifts for your little one. In the end, you may decide to stash these toys aside until your child is older and more suited to handle them than he or she is now. As a general rule, it's best to look for plush toys for infants that won't cause any wounds.

Wear and tear
Chances are, you're going to have few relatives who want to hand down family heirlooms to your little one. This might be an old toy that has been passed down from generation to generation or a worn blanket. Whatever the case may be, it's a good idea to do a thorough visual inspection of the toy before giving it to your baby. Over time, the item may have begun falling apart and is no longer suitable for use by a child.

How do you handle gifts given to your child? Do you know what to look for in an appropriate toy? Leave your feedback in the comments section!