Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

December 13, 2022

dad and daughter playing next to christmas tree

The holiday season is upon us! While you’re spending time with your family, friends and loved ones, we want to make sure you do so in the safest way possible.

Tamar Levene, MD, pediatric surgeon and safety expert for Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, offers 12 safety tips to make sure that you have a happy, safe, and wonderful holiday season.

Tip 1: Don't forget headgear

When gifting children’s bicycles, hoverboards, electric scooters, roller skates or anything of that sort, don’t forget the helmet! It’s important that children wear their helmets anytime they’re riding. Additionally, all parents should wear helmets to set a good example for their children.

Tip 2: Shop for age-appropriate toys

As you're buying your holiday gifts this year, remember to select age-appropriate toys. Don’t buy toys that are very small and can be ingested by young children, especially magnets or button batteries, as ingestion of these can lead to life threatening problems.

Tip 3: Avoid fire hazards

This holiday season, when you’re putting up your decorations and using candles, make sure not to leave them unattended. Especially if you have little kids or pets in the home. We don’t want anything getting knocked over, chewed on, causing a problem or even a fire in the house.

Tip 4: Drink responsibly

If you’re having a holiday get-together and enjoying alcoholic beverages, make sure to drink responsibly and keep all alcohol away from young children. Don’t leave alcoholic drinks accessible to kids who can inadvertently ingest it.

Tip 5: Some decorations can be toxic

Let kids decorate within their reach with non-breakable items. Hang breakable decorations and ornaments, lightbulbs, and tinsel out of kids’ reach.

Some holiday decorations can be poisonous for children. Watch out for plants (like mistletoe, holly, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis) are toxic if eaten.

Bubble lights contain a chemical that’s harmful if swallowed or gets on the skin. Keep these out of reach even if labeled “nontoxic.”

Snow sprays are hazardous if the powder is swallowed, or the aerosol is sprayed into the eyes or on the skin.

Tip 6: Keep children safe in the kitchen

Prevent burns by keeping hot food and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables, where a young child can easily knock them over. Make sure young children cannot access microwave ovens and turn pot handles toward the side or back of the stove.

Tip 7: Not all homes are childproof

Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproof. Keep an eye out for dangerous spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry products, stairways, or hot radiators.

Tip 8: Prevent choking and fire hazards

Pick up wrappings, ribbons, and bows. The trimmings for gifts are beautiful, but they are a triple threat for children. Prevent possible suffocation, choking and fire hazards by gathering wrappings and packaging pieces as gifts are unwrapped.

Tip 9: Have a medical kit handy

Traveling can be fun, just like it can be so demanding. Children, especially the younger ones, want to explore their temporary home, which means they could easily get injured. Moreover, minor accidents in the kitchen, bathroom, or living room are inevitable and can, sometimes, become a big thing if not treated quickly. Hence, a medical kit is a must-have before traveling. It’s an essential kit you carry along on your travels.

Tip 10: Security is your responsibility

Remember that when traveling during the holidays, the places you visit may have a different security system than you're used to. Make sure to check all gates and locks and monitor your children in case there are any unlocked cabinets, accessible cleaning or laundry products, steep stairways, or hot radiators that may cause them damage or harm.

Tip 11: Keep cleaning products in a safe place

When decorating for the holidays, the home can get a little messy sometimes during setup. So, when it's time to clean up, make sure that all cleaning products and household supplies stay out of reach of kids.

Tip 12: Always buckle-up while driving

Driving to and from holiday parties can be hectic, especially if you have a big family or young children. Remember to always put on your seat belt and make sure that smaller children are strapped safely in their car seats.

Watch Dr. Levene's 3 Holiday Safety Tips video on Facebook