4 Surprising Gifts You Can’t Give Your Foster Kids

It’s Cyber Monday! That means great shopping deals!  The Children’s Place is having 30% site-wide with free shipping. And at my favorite store The Body Shop, you can buy 3 items for $30 with free shipping!

However, foster parents have to be careful when buying gifts for children in foster care.  Depending on the rules where you live, there maybe some items that are surprisingly “outlawed” by regulations.

4. Accordion Safety Gates

Not that this is really a gift, per se, but it is definitely on the “naughty list” if you live in Texas and have infants in foster care. (40 TAC 749.1813)

3. Baby Walkers

Again for homes with infants, foster parents in Texas cannot use the old-fashioned mobile baby walkers for infants. (40 TAC 749.1813)

“Baby walkers present a hazard due to risk of falls down stairs, steps, and tipping over thresholds or carpet edges. They provide infants accessibility to potentially hot surfaces, containers of hot liquids such as coffee, dangling appliance cords, poisonous plants or hazardous substances and buckets, toilets or other containers of water.”


Can’t this happen when little ones start walking?  Use stationary items, such as an activity center instead.

2. Baby Bungee Jumpers

“Baby bungee jumpers present a hazard due to increased risk of injury to the child as a result of spinning, swinging, or bumping into walls.” (40 TAC 749.1813)

It’s pretty obvious that other kids in foster homes were swinging babies into walls, causing them injuries.

1. Trampolines

And the #1 surprising gift you can’t give a foster child is a trampoline.

“Trampolines may not be used as play or recreational equipment.” (40 TAC 749.3039)

It’s too bad since jumping is a great way for kids to expel some of that ADHD energy. And sleep better at night!

So how about a bounce house?  I’ve seen these numerous times at State-sponsored foster care events with children in foster care jumping their way to the stars!!!

What gifts are on the “naughty list” where you live?

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  1. Tapati says

    The American Academy of Pediatrics says a trampoline should never be used at home. The above article outlines dangers and safety precautions.

    I ended up researching this for a friend who is going through a divorce. Her ex is having a friend testify that it was safe for him to take their two month old on a trampoline at friend’s house. I guess it is unusual for parents to take babies on a trampoline because I can’t even find a safety list that talks about it, pro or con, or gives any advice about how to do so “safely.” When she asked him to get off the trampoline he wanted to argue that it was completely safe and that she was over-reacting and did so at length. I think it is a mistake for him to want to bring this up at their custody hearing but what do I know. *shrugs* But yeah, there are good reasons not to allow them and I didn’t realize until I did this research how many trampoline injuries there are!

  2. says

    It took some checking on my part. In SC there doesn’t seem to be an official “list”, however, foster children are not allowed to RIDE on motorcycles, so one would assume you could not give them one. We discussed the Texas list with our licensing worker when she was here on Tuesday. She said that trampolines are excluded from the insurance policy, but that does not mean a foster child can not have one. Odd.
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    • Penelope says

      Stinkpot wants a motorcycle. We told him he could buy his own when he’s 18! We’d never buy one for our kids. I had a friend in high school that was in ICU for months after falling off one – he survived, but was severely handicapped afterward.

  3. says

    This past year they changed the rule in Texas so that Trampolines are allowed by minimum standards, as long as they are enclosed, there are no flips, always supervised, and a few other things. That being said, many of the regions (including ours) are still debating whether or not they are going to go along with the new minimum standards (which doesn’t make any sense to me) or if they are going to go by the outdated ones. I know they have the region-specific agreements, I guess that’s where they have their region-specific rules outlined, but in any case there may be “hope” for trampoline-lovers yet. I sure hope so – our son wants one so bad and I’d love to get one for the family. We even have separated backyards that I could lock the trampoline (like a pool) and keep kids out of but could let the forever kids play on when we don’t have fosters. We’ll see how it goes.
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    • Penelope says

      I didn’t realize the minimum standards had changed in regard to trampolines. Our CW hadn’t mentioned it. Each quarterly visit revolves around a particular set of minimum standards.

  4. says

    We have a trampoline and have no problems with it. Actually I was surprised when they told me it was fine. The biggest restrictions we have here are water items such as pools. There is talk of making all foster parents replace any cribs that have the side that slides down (we already replaced our anyways).
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  5. says

    I think I would be out of luck in Texas! I have all four of these items (but I don’t use that gate anymore). Our restrictions revolve more around anything with water and access to it: pools, spas, hot tubs, bathtubs (must have non-slip surface).
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  6. says

    We just have to have a safety plan that we are suppose to sign for the trampoline, but they always just talk about it, they have yet to actually get me to sign it. As far as I know, we don’t have any no no’s. I have used all of the above listed with my foster children. Hmmm…nobody has ever told me any differently, how am I suppose to know?
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    • Penelope says

      Our training emphasized that we couldn’t have trampolines. I pulled out an old copy of the minimum standards and browsed through it to find different items. One thing I didn’t mention is guns – here in Texas, foster kids can go hunting…things that make you go hmm!

  7. says

    Wow. I had gates up in my house and a trampoline. I took the gates down every time we had a visit. They weren’t to lock the baby up they were to keep her from climbing the stairs. But no one every said anything about the trampoline. We have a net enclosure around it and all the foster children loved it.

    Sometimes they really do make the whole foster are thing hard. I bet you feel relieved having Lit Bit as a permanent part of your family now :)
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    • Penelope says

      In my book, keeping little ones off the stairs is a higher safety risk than pinched fingers!!!

      p.s. One of my friends from high school, Micah, posted your giveaway on her Facebook wall! Small world!

    • Penelope says

      Our in-laws have a trampoline, but took the legs down to the lowest level, and now the trampoline is only a foot off the ground. Certainly makes me feel easier when kids are jumping on it!

    • Penelope says

      My thought is that by itself, a jumper is pretty harmless; however, my idea is that older children were “helping” swing infants. Ouch!

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