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Gift ideas that preserve safety and could save lives this holiday season

Kaitlyn Riley

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Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Taking a new look at gift ideas this holiday season, the Progressive Agriculture Foundation offered ideas that can preserve the gift of life for family and friends. 

“We’re realizing that safety and health are really more important than I think it has ever been thought of before,” Education Content Specialist Jana Davidson said. “The most important gift that we can give one another is the gift of life and the gift of taking care of ourselves and others, especially through this pandemic.”

She explained that there are protective items that can preserve safety and health while sharing a word of warning for gifts that could pose potential risks. On the Progressive Agriculture Foundation’s website, her blog post outlined ideas using examples of people who are often part of any family such as “Frugal Fred” who is a hard worker who continuously puts the need of others before his own. 

“They would probably give the shirt off their back and would be willing to help anyone at any time,” Davidson said. “You might see free on a ladder that might not be the safest. It might be old, run-down, or maybe you’ve had it 30 plus years and it is time to replace that ladder, but a lack of funds or time delays replacement. Maybe this year, the best gift we could give Fred is a new ladder he will really appreciate.”

Davidson said although it may not seem to be a ‘fun’ gift, it could make his life and job easier and ultimately safer. 

“Action Adam” is a family member who may have been asking for years for an ATV or UTV for farm use or recreational activities. 

“Maybe we all have that Adam in our life that has been working hard, showing they are responsible, and now they’re deserving of getting the keys to that new equipment, but the thing we need to remember is to make sure that before we hand over the keys, they have safety in mind,” Davidson said. 

She added most ATV or UTV incidents are from driver error and improper riding. Gift ideas include personal protective equipment such as helmets, goggles, and gloves. There are also free courses that children can take to learn proper handling. 

“When are you are selecting that ATV or UTV, there is no such thing as one size fits all,” Davidson said. “There are different size ATVs and UTVs. It’s important to match the age and size of the child and to really do your homework.”

A younger child could be characterized as “Brave Betty,” someone who has been working to master riding a bicycle without training wheels and now wants a new bike as a gift. 

“Just like with the ATV and UTV, when we’re purchasing that bicycle, let’s make sure she has a helmet, or if she has a helmet, maybe it is time to upgrade that as well because helmets have a lot of wear and tear on them, and kids can outgrow their helmets,” Davidson said. 

For those who are hard to shop for, Davidson recommended practicality. Reusable face and hand sanitizer masks to help combat the spread of the Coronavirus could make great stocking stuffers. Items like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers may be scarce in a family’s home or farm. Families neglect to purchase these items on their own due to expense or failing to realize the item’s importance. For new parents, there are great gifts out there to help baby-proof the home.

“Little ones in our life are always anxiously awaiting their chance to open up the freshly wrapped package,” Davidson said. “Whether big or small, toys are always a favorite among many children; however, placing extra thought into toy safety should always be a priority during purchase.”

She said there are important safety tips to keep in mind when making those gift purchases. 

  1. Always read the directions that come with a toy together as a family, so everyone is on the same page and knows the necessary precautions. Even age-appropriate toys, such as sewing, baking, or science kits, often require adult supervision.
  2. Teach older children to role model safe toy behavior by always keeping tiny toys out of reach for younger children. Use extreme caution with toys containing magnets, button batteries, balloons, or toys with small parts. 
  3. Be aware of your surroundings when playing with toys that fly. Assure you do not injure an unsuspecting person or destroy another’s property while at play.

People can also give the gift of safety by sponsoring a child to attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in 2021. People can donate in honor or in memory of a loved one. Text the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating, or volunteering at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, visit www.progressiveag.org or call 888-257-3529. 

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.