Every year the winter holidays descend upon us with thoughts of family, friends, food, decorations and gifts. For parents, the winter holidays also present safety hazards. Navigating parties and celebrations with little children can be stressful enough without considering safety, but it’s important to do so. Here are some reminders to keep your kids safe while you are in the holiday spirit.
General health and wellness
- First and foremost, keep you kids on a (relatively) normal sleep schedule. Sleep is an important part of health so keeping naps, bedtime and wake up time consistent is very important. Don’t forget those routines! If you are traveling, make sure to have favorite books and blankets.
- Keep the healthy foods around, along with treats and snacks. Don’t forget to make sure everyone is drinking their water too.
- Plan for downtime so everyone can have some relaxation, especially mom and dad.
- Everyone should wash their hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs, especially if they are shaking a lot of hands and then eating.
- During winter months, make sure to have lots of layers for everyone in the family. If your kids will be in the snow, make sure they have gear to keep them from getting wet.
- Put up safety screens in front of all fireplaces, including those with a glass door. They can get really hot!
- Learn more about safety during winter time activities here.
- Keep all candles away from loose items and never leave candles unattended.
- Position trees away from fireplaces and radiators. Fake trees should be fire resistant.
- Some holiday plants are potentially poisonous, so keep plants out of the reach of pets and young children.
- Any decorative items that are fragile or have small parts should be positioned out of the reach of small children, including items that will go on your tree. Check all lights before hanging them for broken parts or frayed wires. Don’t forget that anything colorful or pretty can end up in a young child’s mouth.
- Time and experiences are the best gifts for children. Look for gifts that bring the family together. Consider volunteering with your kids or have them suggest a charity and make a donation in their name for one of their gifts.
- Ask your kids to help make handmade gifts for friends and family.
- Gear toys/gifts toward the child’s interest and age – here are some ideas.
- Make sure electronic gifts come with limits and a family media use plan.
- Don’t forget to clean up paper and ribbon so little ones can’t get a hold of them.
- Avoid any toys or products that have small magnets or that require button batteries.
Food and parties
- Having children help prepare food is a fun way to spend time together and get them involved. Remember the rules of food safety when it comes to preparing and handling food.
- Don’t forget to consider mentioning your child’s food allergies if you are attending a party, or asking your guests about their food allergies.
- Keep hot drinks away from small children and pay attention to any foods sitting out that may pose a choking risk.
- Scan the home where you are visiting for any hazards like open cabinets, easily reached cleaning products, uncovered sockets and stairs. Make sure pill bottles and medications are not left out where children can reach them.
- Clean up after parties to be sure hazards like alcoholic drinks and leftover food don’t fall into the wrong hands.
The most important part of the holiday season is spending time together. While many aspects of holiday planning are stressful, including keeping little ones safe, make sure to find those moments you and your family can enjoy. Happy holidays!
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