WASHINGTON — If you find a drone under the Christmas tree next week, it may also come with a list of U.S. government guidelines for safe flying and even software to keep the device away from airports.

Sales of the small, unmanned aircraft are soaring this holiday season, prompting fears that first-time users could accidentally crash them into people, buildings or even aircraft. Retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., are taking steps to educate buyers of the high-tech toys.

“I do not want to be flying in my airplane and be run into by one of these things,” said Cliff Whitney, a private pilot and owner of Atlanta Hobby in Cumming, Georgia, one of the largest independent suppliers of civilian drones in the United States.

Atlanta Hobby has seen business jump to about $20 million in annual sales, a 10-fold increase from five years ago that prompted Whitney to start a drone-training school. The sales explosion is worrying some airline pilots and even drone advocates, who said that newly minted unmanned aircraft operators don’t understand the risks.

“The more frequent the operations of these unmanned aircraft, the higher the risk factor is, especially as folks explore the edges of the envelope,” said Sean Cassidy, the national safety coordinator for the Air Line Pilots Association.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported drone safety cases for the first time last month, showing incidents had grown to more than 40 per month.

Just in November, a drone struck and injured a woman at a Florida antique show, and a small copter flown at a TGI Fridays restaurant in New York cut the nose of a news photographer. In September, a man was arrested and charged with flying a drone within 50 feet of a New York Police Department helicopter, and an airline pilot reported a flight into New York’s LaGuardia Airport almost hit a drone.

“It’s out of control,” said Patrick Egan, an editor at the website sUASNEWS.com.

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