Essential Child Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
As the holiday season approaches, NYC families anticipate festive celebrations and travel. However, amidst the excitement, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety of our kiddos.
This article offers essential child safety tips for parents to ensure a joyful and safe holiday season.
Understanding the Risks
The holiday season can present unique safety challenges for children. From decoration hazards to travel risks, awareness is the first step in prevention.
Home Safety During the Holidays:
Decorations and Lighting
- Inspect Holiday Lights: Check for frayed wires or broken bulbs. Keep lights out of reach of young children.
- Secure Decorations: Ensure that ornaments, especially those that are small or breakable, are placed high up, away from little hands.
- Stable Tree Setup: Whether artificial or real, ensure your tree is stable. A falling tree can be a serious hazard.
- Non-Toxic Decorations: Use non-toxic decorations. Some ornaments may contain harmful materials.
- Age-Appropriate Toys: Always choose gifts appropriate for the child’s age, especially avoiding small parts for children under three.
- Battery Safety: Secure battery compartments on toys. Batteries can be a choking hazard and are dangerous if ingested.
Kitchen and Food Safety:
Safe Cooking for Children
- Supervised Cooking: Always supervise children in the kitchen. Keep them away from hot surfaces and sharp objects.
- Safe Food Prep Areas: Establish a child-free zone in the cooking area to prevent accidents.
- Communicate Allergies: If hosting, inquire about guests’ food allergies. Label dishes that contain common allergens.
Travel Safety Tips:
Preparing for the Road
- Car Seat Safety: Ensure car seats are correctly installed and children are securely buckled in. Check out our friend, The Car Seat Lady, for more tips and tricks on car seats, boosters, installation, and more.
- Rest Stops and Breaks: Plan frequent breaks to allow children to stretch and reduce restlessness.
- ProTip: Know your favorite places to stop? Find one alone on the way to a regular family destination? Program them into your map as a “favorite,” or add them to your GPS and use them as your stops. Keep the kids focused on that travel time rather than the duration of the trip.
- Flight Safety Measures: Follow airline guidelines for child safety, including using approved child restraint systems.
- Entertainment and Comfort: Pack enough snacks, games, and comfort items to keep children engaged and comfortable during flights. Remember, air travel often comes with delays both in the airport and on the plane. Plan for delays to avoid meltdowns.
- Is your child prone to motion sickness? Did you know the most common age for motion sickness is between 2 and 12? And girls and women are more prone to motion sickness.
Outdoor Safety Ideas:
Winter Weather Precautions
- Dress in Layers: Ensure children are dressed warmly in layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Institute warm-up breaks for other festive fun, like hot cocoa or snacks if mittens or clothes become damp.
- Supervised Play: Outside play, especially near bodies of water, no matter how shallow or calm, or during activities like sledding, skiing, skating, snowboarding, etc.
- Stranger Awareness: Teach children the importance of staying close and not talking to or going anywhere with strangers.
Screen Time and Online Safety
- Monitor Screen Time: Limit and monitor screen time significantly when children have increased access to devices during holidays.
- Safe Online Practices: Educate children about not sharing personal information online and the importance of internet safety.
- Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts accessible. Teach children how to dial emergency numbers.
- First Aid Kit: Prepare a First Aid kit and familiarize yourself with basic first aid practices.
- ProTip: MVP hosts monthly Infant/Child Choking Prevention and CPR Classes. Sign up on our Events page.
- Fire Safety: Be cautious with candles and fireplaces. Keep them out of reach, and never leave them unattended.
- Crowds: If you’re out for family gatherings, seeing the decorations or shopping, set up a plan for keeping your family together and talk to your kids about staying with you, not hiding in stores and wandering off.
The holiday season should be a time of joy and celebration. By following these child safety tips, parents and guardians can minimize risks and ensure a safe environment for their children. Remember, a little precaution goes a long way in making holidays memorable for all the right reasons.