Gifts and Stocking Stuffers that Put Safety First

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unfortunately, it’s also a time when you might need to be extra careful because of snow, heating units, holiday lights and more. This season, when shopping for your loved ones, consider gifts and stocking stuffers that put safety first. The following ideas can help you get started on gifts for the home, the open road and even outdoor hobbies.

Home Safety

When it comes to the safety of your home, a gift that keeps on giving is an alarm system, which, according to the prices listed on various websites, can range from $100 – $1,000 depending on your needs and budget. The difference in price may be determined by a number of factors including whether the system is wireless, if you select upgrades such as surveillance cameras or motion sensors and, of course, monthly monitoring fees.

If an alarm system is not within your gift-giving means, you can still offer the gift of security with a few creative stocking stuffers:

  • Motion activated safety light ($10-$20) – Battery-operated LEDs allow you to illuminate your doorstep, driveway or back yard.
  • Fake TV flicker light ($30-$35) – When you’re not home, this device may help deter thieves by simulating the light of an HDTV to make it look like you are inside!
  • Doorstop alarm ($10-$15) – Place this device behind your door, and if an intruder tries to open the door, a high-pitched alarm will sound. This is also a good item to have when staying in a hotel!

Fire safety and air quality are vital, but if your gift recipient is a first-time home buyer or renter, purchasing safety products might get missed among the excitement of a new address. Smoke alarms are standard, but a carbon monoxide detector and a fire extinguisher might be items they haven’t thought about. Detectors range from $20-$40, while extinguishers run between $30-$60.

Additional fire safety gifts include:

  • Two- or three-story fire escape ladder ($50-$150) – It stores compactly and usually holds up to 1,000 pounds for a safe descent in an emergency.
  • Dryer safety alarm ($55-$70) – It provides audible and visual cues when lint builds up in the clothes dryer’s exhaust system and restricts airflow.
  • Fire-safe security box ($50-$90) – This item protects documents and other valuables from fire and water damage.

Road Safety

According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 210 million Americans have a driver’s license. That’s a lot of people on the road on their way from point A to point B! Whether your gift recipient is a regular commuter, a weekend cruiser or a cross-country road tripper, there are a few items you should consider placing under the tree.

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) ($75-$120) – This portable device allows you to input a destination and will give you turn-by-turn directions based on your current location. While many people tend to use their mobile devices for directions, they can lose their battery life or you may be away from a tower that can give you a signa,l depending on your service provider. A GPS is a good back-up and is also just a great gift for the map-reading challenged. Just make sure never to adjust the GPS while you’re driving.
  • Roadside safety kit ($35-$100) – This is handy to have in your trunk or back seat, as it typically contains jumper cables, a first-aid kit, tools, a car care guide, hazard triangle, flares and more.
  • No blind spot rearview mirror ($50-$60) – It clamps on to your existing rear view mirror, is lightweight and provides 180 degrees of vision, compared to your current 52 degrees. Why not use what police officers and pro racecar drivers use?
  • Nansulate Cool Ride ($40) – This quart in a can provides motorized vehicle users with a protective coating that is applied to exhaust pipes to reduce the surface temperature and chances of getting burned when riding.
  • Wireless key finder ($15-$25) – Stop being frazzled when you’re in a rush…this device helps find keys up to 60 feet away, thanks to a compact transmitter you can press which connects to a key fob attached to your key ring.
  • No-battery flashlight ($10-$25) – Let there be light! Battery-less flashlights come in a variety of sizes, even one that fits in the palm of your hand!  They can be charged by plugging into your car outlet, shaking the device for 30 seconds or using a hand crank to illuminate your way.

Outdoor Safety

Whether your gift recipient is a frequent camper, loves to go for a run or just likes to take the dog for a walk, there are some safety gifts that make the outdoors (at any hour) enjoyable!

  • Two-way radio ($45-$60) – Handheld technology provides the avid outdoorsman or -woman with communication ability, weather channels, built-in alerts and, typically, a range of 25+ miles.
  • Ice grippers ($25-$50) – These stainless steel coils cover the soles of shoes so you can take a more confident stride when walking or hiking on packed snow and ice. You can find models that clip over the toe and stretch around the sole or that feature nylon fasteners that cradle the entire shoe.
  • Helmet ($25-$50) – Great for any age, your gift recipient can wear this when biking and skating to protect their noggin! Most styles come with special padding to ensure a comfortable but protective fit. Some models even have liners that can be swapped out to adapt to cold and warm weather conditions.
  • Glowing pet leash ($20-$30) – Those nightly walks with your pooch can be safer with a leash that glows in the dark and can be visible up to 200 feet away. You can also find LED dog collars and leashes that are visible up to 1,000 feet away and are weather-resistant.
  • Reflective gloves ($15-$25) – These allow for walkers and runners to be kept warm and visible at night. Different styles include, reflective triangles in the palm, strips on each finger or glow-in-the dark thread woven into the fabric.
  • LED light-up shoelaces ($5-$10) – Available in fun colors, they can be used on running shoes, boots and skates and come with a replaceable battery that’s good for 70 hours. You can get creative and use the laces as a necklace or bracelet as it has three settings (constant, blink and slow flash) to ensure you’re visible at night.

Start making your list! I’m sure someone who’s been more nice than naughty could use these creative gift items to ensure their safety at home, on the road and outside during dark winter nights. Happy gift giving, and enjoy stuffing those stockings!

Victoria Araj is the managing editor of the Quicken Loans Zing Blog, and focuses on homeowner tips, home décor and lifestyle stories.

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