The holidays can be the most joyful time of year, but they can also lead to distraction which can be dangerous for everyone, especially babies and young children. Parents should take time to check their surroundings for potentially dangerous items: from candles, unsafe toys, fires or simply by being in a new environment not suitable for young children. The following safety tips can help parents have peace of mind during the holidays.
- Traveling or hosting young children? Check the windows for corded window coverings
According to the CPSC, one of the top hidden hazards in the home are corded window coverings as young children could accidentally become entangled in the cords. If traveling, inspect the windows and window coverings for potential dangers and if hosting young children, be sure to review your own. If you can’t replace your window coverings, be sure that all window covering cords are out of reach of children. Cordless window coverings are sold at all major retailers and are easy to find—just look for the “Best for Kids’’ logo on the package.
- Check your child’s gifts
Your child may want to play with a gift immediately after receiving it, but it’s important to first look it over. Look to be sure the age range on the toy falls in an appropriate age group for your child. Always take the time to check for any small parts that could detach and pose a choking hazard. CPSC reports that in 2019, there were an estimated 162,700 toy-related emergency department-treated injuries. Find out more tips on toy safety from Play Safe.org.
- Be extra careful with open flames
During this time of year, candles and fires in the fireplace evoke a cozy holiday atmosphere but all flames should be placed well out of a child’s reach. Fireplaces should also have a gate around them, so children are kept away. Electric candles are a great alternative too.
- Be mindful around alcoholic beverages
If your holiday get-together has a punch bowl or other types of alcohol available for guests, be sure to keep them out of reach and explain to your children which drinks are only meant for adults.
- Check on childproofing
Whether it’s a family member, hotel or rental, before you go ask questions about potential safety risks such as stairs, corded window coverings, pets, sleeping arrangements and other concerns. Talk to hosts about storing medications, cleaning products, and other hazards out of reach. If you’re staying at a hotel, call in advance to ask whether the staff will childproof the room for you. Or, take along a travel childproofing kit or a roll of duct tape to cover outlets, fasten back window curtains and cords, and secure bathroom cabinets.
- Check your smoke alarms
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires. The three days with the highest number of kitchen fires involving cooking equipment are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve. Make sure someone is always watching the stove when cooking, and never leave your cooking unattended. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries every six months or as needed. Smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years and carbon monoxide alarms every 5-7 years, depending on the model.