The holidays are an exciting time of year for children. To help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
TREES: When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break easily. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. Just before placing your tree in a stand, cut a few inches off the trunk to expose fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.
LIGHTS: Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
DECORATIONS: In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, and keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that my tempt a young child to eat them.
TOYS: Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children. Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 ¼ inches in diameter and 2 ¼ inches long.
FOOD: Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counter and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands. Avoid table runners or tablecloths that hang over the edge of a table and encourage young hands to pull on them. Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
FIREPLACES: Always use a fireplace with caution, and avoid use of all “airway irritants” around children who are congested or have asthma. Airway irritants include scented candles, potpourri, wood-burning stoves/fireplaces, and cigarette smoke.
HAPPY VISITING: Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots. Put the number for poison control in your cell phone for immediate availability. Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child’s stress levels. Trying to stick to your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays away from home and reduce stress. Wash your hands frequently and make sure your children do the same. Good hand-washing is the number one defense against the spreading of cold/flu viruses.
HAVE FUN! The holiday season is a time to enjoy your children and the magic they bring to your life. Tell them just how special they are. Our staff wishes you and your family a happy and HEALTHY holiday season!