It’s the holiday season, and in all of your hustle and bustle, don’t forget about your family’s well-being and safety.
Deck the Halls…. Decoration Tips
Although holiday decorations are beautiful and bring excitement to your household; however, the decorations themselves can bring potential danger causing house fires and accidental poisonings.
- Avoid toxic plants: mistletoe berries, holly berry, Jerusalem cherries
- Don’t leave your lit candles unattended.
- Use flame resistant decorations for your tree trimmings. If buying artificial trees, ensure that they are fire resistant.
- If you are purchasing a real tree, ensure that it is fresh, pine needles should be difficult to remove. The tree trunk should be trimmed after purchase, and the tree must be watered regularly.
- When trimming your tree use shatterproof ornaments, if you must use glass ornaments, place the glass toward the top of the tree to avoid coming in contact with your small children and pets.
- Items with small pieces should be out of reach of your children.
- Promptly recycle or dispose of wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, gift bags and tissue paper.
- When decorating outdoors, make use of grounded circuits and use lights and decorations designed for the outdoors to avoid potential shock hazards.
- Use hooks to hang your lights, not nails, staples or tacks.
- Check all lights to make sure there aren’t any frayed wires, loose bulbs or loose connections.
Tis the season for travel, and whether you are visiting family/friends or just taking the time to go on a family adventure, your family should be equipped for the journey.
- Don’t forget to bring your car seats, whether you travel by car, bus, plane, or train to your final destination, your child’s car seats will be important.
- Allow extra time if traveling to airports, holidays are peak travel times, and there will be lines at the ticket counters and with security.
- Stick to your child’s normal routines during the trip, keep their naptimes and bedtimes consistent. This will reduce stress levels in your family.
- If you have a teenage driver, remind them to be vigilant and practice their defensive driving skills. Also ensure that they are not themselves drinking or in cars with drunk drivers.
- Keep a goodie bag with snacks, activities and toys to keep your children occupied during the journey.
- Don’t drink and drive, especially with your children in the car.
Time to Eat
Holidays are filled with edible indulgences, from ham and mac n’ cheese to cakes and pies, we all enjoy ourselves, sometime too well, during the holiday season. Involve your children in preparation of your meals,
- Thoroughly cook your meats, raw/undercooked meat, and thoroughly wash your raw fruits and vegetables. These foods are potential breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Avoid keeping perishable foods out for more than 2 hours. Prompt storage in the refrigerator/freezer are important.
- When tasting your foods, make sure to wash the utensils prior to placing them back into the dish. Also avoid tasting things with items meant to be consumed after cooking i.e. raw eggs.
- Separate your raw and cooked items, make sure to use different utensils when handling each.
- When involving your children in food preparation reinforce food safety like handwashing.
- Turn your pot handles away from the edge of the stove, and keep hot items away from countertop edges, were curious toddlers can reach and cause spills and burn injuries.
It’s the season for gathering with family and friends. Parties are in full swing, and although your children may be welcome, all homes are not equipped for small guests.
- Appoint a sober chaperone to watch the children
- Look out for potential hazards like electrical outlets, small/sharp objects, stairs, handbags, and kitchen hazards etc.
- Be aware of the other guests, review stranger danger tips, everyone isn’t in the holiday spirit.
- Ensure that there are non-alcoholic options for your children, and that the children, including your teenagers don’t have access to alcohol
Have You Been Naughty or Nice? …. Gift Tips
Don’t forget to research the gifts your children want, and the gifts you receive. Although it is easy to get wrapped up in the holiday giving spirit, don’t forget to look into the requests your children have. Important tips include the following:
- Find appropriate age specific toys, follow the guidelines on the packaging, children should play with toys that are appropriate for their developmental level. Toys that are too advanced are hazards.
- Avoid toys that plug into electrical outlets for children less than 10 years. They are a potential electrical burn hazard.
- If purchasing electronic media devices for older children be mindful of the intent of the item, be aware of your child’s selected apps, and online presence. Talk to them about internet safety.
- Be cautious of toys with magnets and button batteries, these are particularly dangerous and are easily swallowed by small children. If swallowed, children can have significant gastrointestinal issues, even tragedy as significant as death. If your child swallows one of these items, they should be evaluated immediately.
- Remove any gift tags with string, ribbons, and strings prior to presenting gifts to your children as they are potential strangulation hazards.
- Infants should not have any toys with string longer than 12 inches to avoid strangulation.
- Read labels and safety information from your children’s presents to avoid potential hazard.
- Gifts for toddlers and infants should build developmental skills.
- Store toys for older children in places difficult for your infant/toddler to access.
Santa’s Little Helpers…… Let’s go Shopping
- Keep your children in your eyesight at all times
- Discuss the plan of action if they get lost, tell them to find a store employee or security guard if you happen to get separated
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Don’t park near suspicious vehicles, i.e. dark-tinted windows, cargo vans
- Have your keys readily available prior to reaching your vehicle.