One of the things everybody loves about the holiday season is the change of routine we all relish. But it can also bring potential safety hazards that aren’t generally present during the rest of the year. Young children are especially vulnerable.
Take care so these beloved traditions don’t get out of control.
- Let children decorate the bottom of the tree with unbreakable ornaments secured by ribbon or thread, instead of wire hooks, and place others out of their reach.
- Keep toxic plants like holly, mistletoe, amaryllis or Jerusalem cherry away from them, if you use them at all.
- Don’t let them touch or play with bubble lights, which contain a chemical that can cause irritation if swallowed or spilled on the skin, even if they’re labeled nontoxic.
Candles and fireplaces
- Don’t leave wax candles unattended, and supervise all children in their vicinity.
- Flameless candles are much safer but may contain batteries that are harmful if swallowed.
- Have your fireplace inspected before the season begins, and teach your children to stay a safe distance and not to throw anything into it while it’s burning.
Food and drink
- Be wary of any alcoholic drinks left unattended, as consuming even a small amount can be dangerous for young children.
- Remember to be conscientious about hot ovens, stoves and liquid around kids, especially if you don’t cook very often the rest of the year.
- Verify that all food is cooked to the proper interior temperature; children younger than 5, along with the elderly, are more vulnerable to foodborne illness.
- Follow age recommendations on packaged toys; those too advanced for the children playing with them could become a safety hazard.
- When giving kids bikes, skateboards, scooters or other wheeled vehicles, don’t forget about helmets and other protective gear.
- Be especially careful with toys with “button” batteries, which are easy for young children to swallow and can do a great deal of harm if they are.