By Rob Carter & Gene Rice, PrepareFirst, Atlanta
Take a few minutes to review these tips to help keep your family safe during the holidays.
Holiday Parties and Celebrations
- BE CAREFUL OF OTHER HOMES you may be visiting because they may not be childproofed and your child may have access to a wide range of hazards.
- CLEAN UP PROMPTLY after a holiday party so that children don’t have an opportunity to ingest food or alcohol left over by your guests.
- KEEP HOT FOOD AND DRINKS AT A SAFE DISTANCE from children who may try to touch them if they are too close to the perimeter of a table or counter.
- SERVE INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS OF FOOD to avoid germs being shared by people who may have colds.
- SKIP TABLECLOTHS and runners with babies and toddlers. One pull from a curious toddler will cause holiday and dining hazards to come crashing to the floor or on baby (e.g. hot coffee, glassware and more).
- CHECK FOR SMALL PARTS that are part of toys or decorations. If it fits in an empty toilet paper roll, consider it a choking hazard for young children.
- STORE CANDY SAFELY away from babies and toddlers since it might be a choking hazard.
- TOY SAFETY: Be sure to only allow children to play with age-appropriate toys.
- TRAVEL SAFETY: If you’re traveling, bring along tamperproof containers to safeguard medications, toiletries and other unsafe items. If you have visitors, ensure their medications and other dangerous items are safely stored away from children. Also, ensure your baby sleeps in a crib that meets current safety standards.
- USE BATTERY OPERATED LIGHTS VS. CANDLES on mantles and around the house to avoid fire and burn injuries. Be particularly careful of “button” batteries or magnets that might be used in these products and can cause serious injuries if swallowed (select models that are secured with screws).
- KEEP FIREPLACE AREAS CLEAR of any papers and other flammable decorations which could be ignited by a spark. Use hearth gates to block access to fireplaces.
- STORE MATCHES AND LIGHTERS SAFELY out of the reach of little fingers.
- CHECK DECORATIVE LIGHTS FOR DAMAGE and do not use any lights or light strings which have damaged bulbs, wires, sockets or which are obviously not functioning properly.
- ONLY USE INDOOR-RATED LIGHTS INDOORS AND OUTDOOR-RATED LIGHTS OUTDOORS to reduce fire risk.
- DON’T LET CHILDREN TOUCH ANY ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS, particularly if they are at an age where they might be inclined to put their mouths on the object.
- TURN OFF ALL HOLIDAY LIGHTS when going to bed or leaving the house to avoid fire risk.
- AVOID PLACING BREAKABLE OR HOLIDAY DECORATIONS where a child can reach them and become injured. Protect children from sharp surfaces or choking hazards. Needles and ornaments are inviting to toddlers but not safe! The presents under the tree can also be a hazard. Surround your Christmas tree with a playyard or sectional style safety gate. Use non-breakable ornaments and place them out of the reach of babies and young children.
- REMOVE STRINGS AND RIBBONS from any object that a child can access to reduce choking and/or strangulation risks.
- TEST YOUR FIRE SAFETY EQUIPMENT to ensure it is all in good working order. Test smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and fire ladders. Change the batteries when you change your clocks.
- REVIEW YOUR FAMILY FIRE ESCAPE PLAN to make sure everyone remembers what to do if there is a fire emergency. Practice it!
- ENFORCE USE OF A PROPERLY FITTED HELMET at all times to protect against brain injury when using any bicycle, scooter, skateboard or rollerblades/skates.
- COOK ON THE BACK BURNERS and keep pot handles turned away from the front of the stove. Also, secure appliance cords so they do not hang over the side of counters where a child can grab hold of them. With busy holiday cooking, keep children out of the kitchen and consider the use of baby gates.