The American Academy of Pediatrics has some helpful hints about toy safety while you're doing your holiday shopping.
Buy age appropriate toys. Toys for children under 3 shouldn't contain any small parts they could choke on. Most toys have an age level on the box.
They discourage people from giving children under the age of 10 toys that need to be plugged in to an outlet. Instead, they advise looking for gifts that are battery operated.
Avoid anything with a long string for babies because of the risk of strangulation.
Also, children younger than 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.
When the gifts are all opened, be sure to carefully read the directions before handing it over to your child.