The holidays are a fun time of year for most children with the anticipation of getting gifts,
seeing family and being out of school. It is also an important time of year to be mindful of
your children's safety. Holiday decorations, traveling, new toys, and visiting homes that
may not be childproofed, can put your children in danger.
Parents often think they’ll watch their child more closely, even if the house isn't childproofed, but this is hard if there are a lot of family members and friends present and the kids are all playing together. Below are some simple precautions that can help to make sure that your children have a fun and safe holiday:
Most parents understand the importance of childproofing their homes. Gates on stairs, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and keeping medicines and poisons out of reach are fairly standard in many homes. In addition to the risks of holiday decorations, younger children can get into trouble if they visit a home during the holidays (or any time of year) that isn't childproofed.
It is especially likely that a home isn't childproofed if you are visiting grandma and grandpa and they don't usually have children in the house. In addition to not having safety locks on cabinets, gates on stairs, covers on electrical outlets, etc., they may also have prescription medications that aren't in a child resistant container. Things to be especially watchful for and you may want to ask about, include:
· Do they have a pool? Does it have a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate? Can the children get to the area where the pool is located?
· Are there guns in the house? Are they stored unloaded in a locked box with the bullets locked separately?
· Are there small objects, such as hard candy or nuts in candy dishes, where younger children can get them?
· Are there gates on the stairs?
· Are medications, poisons and household cleaners out of reach?
· Do they have a pet that may harm the children, such as a Rottweiler, Pit Bull or German shepherd?
· If your child has food allergies, will they be serving that food?
· Select safe toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child.
· Check toys regularly for small parts, breakage and potential hazards, including chipped or peeling paint. Damaged or dangerous toys should be repaired or thrown away.
· Teach older children to keep their toys away from younger children.
· When buying a bicycle, scooter, skates, or other sporting goods, buy a helmet and appropriate safety pads.
For more information on children and holiday safety click here.