How to keep kids safe during the holidays

It’s that time of year again when we enjoy festive meals, deck our halls with colorful decorations and listen to squeals of delight as our children open their brightly wrapped presents. 

To help ensure kids have fun and stay safe at home this holiday season, here are a few tips to remember: 

Dangerous Decor

  • Decorate your tree with your kids in mind. Move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks towards the top of the tree and put ones that are safer for young kids at the bottom. 
  • Water the tree regularly. Needles on real trees can dry out and pose a potential fire hazard.
  • Check the lights. Take a look at the lights on your tree and in and around your home for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. 
  • Blow out candles and store matches out of reach. Keep holiday candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn and don’t forget to blow them out. Place matches and lighters in a safe place, out of children's reach. Avoid novelty lighters or lighters that look like toys.
  • Keep harmful plants out of reach. Keep plants that may be poisonous out of reach of children or pets. In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

The Right Toy for the Right Tot

  • Find the perfect toy for the right age. Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game. Read the instructions and warning labels to make sure the gift is just right. Also, check to make sure there aren’t any small parts or other potential choking hazards. 
  • Keep button batteries away from young kids. Keep a special eye on small pieces, including button batteries that may be included in electronic toys. 
  • Don’t forget a helmet for new bikes or other toys. If your child’s heart is set on a bike, skateboard or scooter this holiday season, be sure to include a helmet to keep them safe while they’re having fun. 

Holiday Meal Safety

  • Prevent spills with pot handles. To prevent burns from hot holiday food or liquid spills, simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge. 
  • Avoid placing food on an open oven door. To prevent oven tip-overs, place heavy foods or other items on a counter out of the reach of young children, and not on an open oven door. An anti-tip bracket is a valuable tool to prevent oven tip-overs. 
  • Engage older kids in cooking. Teach older, responsible kids how to cook safely. Teach them to never leave the kitchen while they’re using the stove or oven, to use oven mitts or potholders to remove items from the oven or stove and how to use a microwave safely.

University Health offers pediatric urgent care at any of our PediExpress locations. For more information, call 210-358-KIDS (5437).

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