Holiday Safety

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

The holidays are a fun time of year for most children, with the anticipation of getting gifts, seeing family and being out of school. It is also an important time of year to be mindful of children's safety. There are many extra factors that put children more at risk for injury during the holiday season, including gatherings at the homes of friends and family that may not be childproof, home decorations such as Christmas trees and lights, and outdoor activities such as sledding and skiing.

Following are some suggestions to help make your holiday season merry and safe

  • While decorating your home or Christmas tree, consider your child's age so that you can avoid accidents. Check to see if all electrical connections are safe and secured.
  • Install smoke alarms in your home on every level and in every sleeping area. Test alarms once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Do not leave lights or candles on when you are not at home and keep them out of younger children's reach.
  • Be careful while choosing toys for infants or small children. Make sure that the toy does not contain pieces that can cause choking hazard. Purchase age-appropriate gifts.
  • Some pretty looking holiday plants that the children might try to eat such as holly berries, Jerusalem cherries, mistletoe etc. can cause severe stomach ache. Be careful that the children don't eat them.
  • When visiting others during the holidays, supervise your child extra-vigilantly until you can assure yourself that the house is childproof.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper and place them at a place where they are not toppled down or blown over.
  • During Halloween, don't let the child go for trick or treat without any adult supervision.
  • Tell the children not to eat the treats without letting a parent or adult supervisor examine them first.
  • When wrapping presents, keep scissors out of children's reach.
  • It is a great idea to involve children to bake some cookies or special treats for the holidays. However, children should be allowed to help in the kitchen only under adult supervision. Be careful of hot plates and ovens.
  • If your child has food allergies, be sure to keep this in mind when visiting others and having holiday meals. Make sure that you inform the hosts of any of your child's allergies so that they don't offer the child something that the child is allergic to.
  • Encourage your child to wear a helmet when playing with a snowmobile or while skiing or sledding.
  • Dress your children up in comfortable clothes which allow free movement. However, be careful of long loose sleeves, strings, ribbons, etc. as it might get caught in fire near fireplace, candlelit tables or stove.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,