Safety Over the Holiday Season

The excitement of the holiday season can lead us to let our guard down, with tragic results. Here’s what you need to know about holiday safety.

Tis the season to be jolly…tis also the season to be a little more cautious than usual. That’s because many of the items decorating our homes, from Hanukkah candles to Christmas lights, can pose extra dangers to our little ones.

Believe it or not, the beloved Christmas tree can be one of the most hazardous things in a home over the holidays. Retired firefighter Ian McPherson says “if you buy a tree make sure it’s fresh and stored in water and don’t store it near heat registers.” McPherson adds you should avoid using “unapproved lights or candles, and make sure it’s placed out of the way of a possible fire exit.”

Even the cheery ornaments we use to decorate our Christmas trees should be chosen with care especially if you’re the parents of young children, because small children don’t know the difference between what’s edible, and what’s not. The best idea may be to either forget the edible decorations entirely, including the candy canes and everything else while the child is a toddler, and go strictly with decorations. However, it is wise to keep the glass decorations high and out of reach.

Just as important as what is on the tree is what’s under it. Unwrapped electrical appliances, perfume and alcohol can be more than just gifts…they can be hazards. Alcohol and perfumes should never be left under a tree as a young child may ingest them and just a couple of ounces can cause as much damage as a couple of ounces of detergent would to a toddler. If  you’re going to give alcohol or perfume as a gift, make sure it’s wrapped, and once it’s unwrapped, remove it from under the tree. Don’t display it.”

Finally, never take fire for granted over the holidays. Ian McPherson reminds us to be vigilant about where we place candles and when we burn fires. “If you use candles in any of the celebrations, make sure they are used carefully. Don’t burn cardboard and wrapping paper. Be more cautious overall.”

There is nothing more ominous than the sound of a fire engine or ambulance during the holidays, but with a little extra vigilance you can ensure your holiday season is a happy and safe one for you and your children.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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