The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to
help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Please feel free to excerpt these tips or
use them in their entirety for any print or broadcast story, with
acknowledgment of the source.
purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant."
purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are
hard to pull from branches, and needles do not break when bent between your
fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped
on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable
heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows
for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and
becoming a fire hazard.
sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live
trees out rapidly.
all tree lights--even if you've just purchased them--before hanging them on
your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires,
broken sockets or loose connections.
use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with
electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be
light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes
in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who
might try to mouth them, and wash your hands after handling them.
using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for
outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated
staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit
interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short
out and start a fire.
only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel
or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals.
use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use
non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked over.
homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are
sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach
of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid
trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass
"angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung
irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace
areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking
hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame.
toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended
child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as
a gift, read the instructions carefully.
prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age
10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys
that are battery-operated.
- Young children 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 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death -- after
swallowing button batteries and magnets. In addition to toys, button batteries
are often found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids, and
other small electronics. Keep them away from young children and call your
health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; do not allow children
under age 8 to play with them.
strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could
be a strangulation hazard for babies.
should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy
chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.
are often present in raw foods. Fully
cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
sure to keep hot liquids and food away from the edges of counters and tables,
where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands. Be
sure that young children cannot access microwave ovens.
your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
keep raw foods and cooked foods separate, and use separate utensils when
thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more
than two hours.
up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on
leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger
spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry
products, stairways, or hot radiators.
a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby sitter are likely
to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your
pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the
list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
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 and reduce stress.
lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations
from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on
wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal
irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
not burn gift wrap paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings
ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
2013 - American Academy of