Along with the joy of holiday shopping, decorating, parties and travel come many kid-safety concerns. To help you and your loved ones fully enjoy the magic of the season, we’ve rounded up these parent-approved holiday safety tips.
- Mount your Christmas tree on a sturdy base and secure any large decorations to prevent kids from grabbing them or knocking them over.
- Place fragile ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on higher tree branches, where kids can’t reach them.
- Keep potentially poisonous plants — including mistletoe, holly berries, amaryllis and Jerusalem cherry – out of kids’ reach. If you suspect a poisoning, contact the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Keep candles, menorahs and kinaras at least three feet from flammable materials such as decorations and curtains. Or, better yet, opt for electronic versions.
- Never leave candles, matches and lighters unattended or within children’s reach.
- When using a fireplace, be sure to cover it with a large, sturdy metal screen.
- Review your fire escape plan with family members and guests.
Cooking and Baking
- Teach younger children to stay at least three feet away from where you’re cooking, and place infants in a high chair safely away, where you can see them.
- Keep kids away from dangerous kitchen items, including raw cookie dough and anything hot, sharp or flammable.
- When using a small appliance such as a mixer or slow cooker, keep the cord tucked safely behind the appliance, not dangling off the counter.
- If possible, cook on the back burners to keep hot foods and liquids away from kids’ reach.
- Teach older kids how to cook and bake safely, and never leave them unsupervised in the kitchen.
- Since people tend to interact more during the holidays, now’s a great time to schedule your kids’ routine checkups and vaccinations.
- Teach kids to sneeze or cough into a tissue. If there isn’t one handy, they should sneeze into their arm — instead of their hand or the air.
- Encourage children to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly, especially before eating, after using the restroom and after sneezing or coughing.
- For more tips on how you and your family can fight colds and flu this season, click here.
- While kids love to explore new places, keep in mind that other people’s homes may not be as childproof as yours.
- As a guest, always be on the lookout for potentially hazardous food, drinks, medications, household items, choking hazards, etc.
- If you’re hosting a party, be sure to clean up right away, before your kids get the chance to come into contact with any potentially dangerous items.
- Before your shopping trip, talk to your kids about the “two giant steps” rule – they should never stray more than two big steps away from you (not even to go to the restroom or car).
- Remind your children not to talk to strangers and to let you know immediately if someone is bothering them.
- Teach kids to never leave the store to look for you in case you do get separated, and reassure them that you’d never leave until you are reunited. Instead, they should look for a “safe stranger,” such as a cashier or security guard, for help.
- Teach children their full name, address and your cell phone number to give to police or mall security.
- Choose toys and games labeled with the appropriate age range for your child. Toys made for older kids may contain small parts, which could pose as a choking hazard for their younger siblings.
- Be especially cautious about toys that have button batteries or magnets — they can be harmful, and even fatal, if swallowed.
- Carefully discard all packaging and read all instructions and warning labels before giving the toy to your child.
- If you plan to give a bike, scooter or skateboard this year, don’t forget to include a helmet.
- For more toy safety tips from the Toy Industry Association (TIA), click here, and be sure to keep up to date on toy recalls by visiting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
- Before traveling for the holidays, make sure you have the correct car seat or booster seat for your child’s size and age. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website to choose the correct car seat and to find a car seat inspection station near you.
- Car seat manufacturers warn that bulky coats make it impossible to properly secure kids in the harness of their car seats and booster seats. If possible, preheat the car before kids enter, and lay their coat or a blanket over them after they buckle up.
- Prepare for cold-weather emergencies by making sure your cell phone is charged and packing extra blankets, food, water, diapers, medications and a car first aid kit.
- Items like hot foods and large gifts can become projectiles if you have to brake abruptly or are in an accident, so it’s best to keep them in the trunk.
- For more road trip safety tips, click here.
Many of these tips apply to your furry friends too. To learn how to keep your pets safe this winter, click here. Have any holiday safety advice that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.
Have a safe and happy holiday season from Plymouth Rock Assurance!