Our last post described various safety precautions regarding decorating and Christmas Trees, Lights and Fire Places. Today, we would like to be more specific and offer suggestions about children’s holiday safety. Children can and should be protected from the potential dangers of the season.
Food Holiday Safety:
- Bacteria can be present in raw foods. Make sure that meat and poultry are fully cooked and that vegetables and fruits are washed thoroughly.
- Keep all hot foods and liquids away from edges of counters and tables where little hands might knock them over.
- Never place a microwave in the reach of young children.
- Wash your hands frequently and make sure that children wash theirs also.
- No double dipping or better stated, do not place a spoon back into food if you have used it to taste something.
- Separate cooked and raw foods and use different utensils when preparing them.
- Thaw meat and poultry in refrigerator instead of leaving them on the counter. Remember the “two hour” rule: If a food requires refrigeration, do not leave it at room temperature more than two hours.
Toy Holiday Safety:
- Select toys that are age, ability, skill and interest appropriate for each child. Toys meant for older children may pose dangers for younger children. Read instructions on each toy before permitting a child to play with it.
- Never give a child under ten years of age a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Give battery-operated toys instead.
- Follow government regulations regarding toy specifications dictating safety requirements. Toys for children under three years of age cannot have parts that are less than 1.5 inches in diameter and less than 2.25 inches long.
- Button batteries and magnets are especially dangerous if swallowed because they can cause serious stomach and intestinal problems. These items can cause death if swallowed. Be vigilant in ascertaining where these dangers might be. Button batteries can be found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids and other small electronics. If a child swallows one of these, immediately call your doctor.
- Un-inflated or broken balloons pose a choking and suffocating danger. Children under eight years of age should not be permitted to play with them.
- All strings and ribbons should be removed from young children’s toys. Pull toys with cords longer than twelve inches in length pose a strangulation hazard for babies.
- Always keep toys in a designated area such as a toy chest.
Entertaining Holiday Safety:
- After a holiday party, clean up immediately. Toddlers can get into things the next morning. (Make sure that they never come into contact with alcohol or tobacco.)
- Homes you visit may not be “child proofed.” Keep an eye out for dangers like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, cleaning and laundry products, stairways and heaters.
- Keep a list with you that contains important phone numbers that you might need in case of emergency. Include police department, pediatrician and the National Poison Help Line 1-800-222-1222. Keep in mind that mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, Jerusalem cherry plants and other holiday plants are potentially poisonous.
- Remember that presents, shopping and visiting family members can increase a child’s stress level.
- Try to keep your child’s routine similar to the one at home including the timing of meals and naps and bedtime.
The holidays bring joy and togetherness and with proper attention to the details, children will be safe. If you have any suggestions or input, we would love to hear from you.
First Photo: Andrew Turner
Photo: Steven Depolo