Health Care

Holiday Safety Checklist for Parents

Father and son decorating a Christmas tree.

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The magic of the holidays brings family and friends together in a spirit of celebration. With all the dazzling lights, decorations, special foods and brand-new toys, however, we cannot forget there is always the potential of danger.

Follow our tips on holiday safety so you and your family can enjoy the holidays to the fullest. Since accidents do happen from time to time, know that our network of ERs is always ready with expert, compassionate care.

Decoration Safety

Decorating for the holidays is fun for the whole family and it’s great to be able to enjoy the results of your decorative flair throughout the season. Here are some safety tips to consider when selecting age-appropriate décor.

Place fragile ornaments and decorations out of children’s reach or wait until children are older before using them. Small, shiny ornaments and tinsel attract the eyes and hands of young children and can be choking hazards. Anything that is small enough to fit into the mouth of an infant or toddler poses a choking risk.

Strings of lights, like many appliance cords, may contain lead. Ensure that lights are displayed beyond the reach of children.

Whenever possible, avoid using real candles as part of your decorations. Make sure that any lit candles around your home are kept away from flammable items and can’t be tipped over. Don’t leave burning candles unattended.

Unplug all holiday lights and extinguish all candles before going to bed. Plugging extension cords into surge protectors should be avoided as it’s a fire hazard.

Keep poisonous and potentially harmful holiday plants, such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias, away from kids and pets.

New Toy Safety

The joy of seeing your child’s surprise as they open their new presents is priceless. After opening gifts, collect all bows, ribbons, wrapping paper, bags and tape and stow them safely away to avoid choking hazards. Provide young children with age-appropriate gifts. Avoid toys that plug into outlets as well as balloons and toys with strings or other small parts.

Make sure batteries are out of your kids’ reach. If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, it is imperative to seek immediate medical treatment.

When unwrapping and putting together new gifts, keep knives, box cutters and scissors out of children’s hands and reach.

Food and Cooking Safety

Holiday foods make special treats for everyone, and children enjoy helping in the kitchen. Keep a close eye on little ones while baking or cooking to prevent burns. Always ensure that pot handles are turned away from the front of the stove so they can’t be pulled off. Keep the oven door closed or children at a safe distance when the door is open.

Food poisoning is a danger, especially for small children. Thoroughly wash hands, utensils and surfaces that come into contact with raw meat and eggs, and make sure all food and baked items are properly cooked before giving them to children.

At holiday parties, some popular items like popcorn, nuts and hard candies can be choking hazards. Keep them out of reach of children.

Travel Safety

To make the most of your holiday travel experience, keep the following ideas in mind for your kids’ well-being. Then, be sure to have a good time!

Keep an emergency travel card containing identification and contact information in your children’s pocket that contains information such as your hotel and emergency contact phone numbers. These can even be pinned inside your child’s jacket. ID bracelets are excellent for very little ones who may not know their phone number and home address yet. If any of your children have a medical condition, make sure they wear their medical ID bracelet.

Talk to you kids ahead of time regarding a safety plan if you become separated. Let them know who is safe to talk to for help, like a security officer or a person at a cash register.

Be sure to pack all necessary medicines. If you do forget them, call your physician so they can send a prescription to a pharmacy near you.

Continue to follow safe practices to avoid contracting a holiday virus while traveling, like handwashing and wearing a mask in public, especially on public transportation.

Have a Holiday Health Plan

When preparing for this season’s festivities we want you to have peace of mind knowing that AdventHealth dedicated Emergency Rooms are here should you need care unexpectedly. Our compassionate staff will work to get you back home quickly so you and your family can keep enjoying your celebrations. Click here to find the AdventHealth emergency department or urgent care nearest you.

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