It’s official! The holiday season has begun! You can’t turn on the radio or TV now without hearing holiday music or learning about the “must-have” toy this year.
It seems that life goes into overdrive as we try to prepare for the holidays and still manage our daily lives. Under regular circumstances, it’s easy to overlook some safety measures but when you’re adding parties, decorating and insane shopping trips to your schedule, safety precautions can fly right out the window.
7 Important Holiday Safety Reminders
#1: Create kid-friendly Christmas trees – Between kids and pets running through the house, those fragile glass ornaments are just asking to be broken. Kids of all ages will enjoy making some handmade ornaments and creating garland out of paper or popcorn (avoid popcorn if you have kids younger than 5). Never string more than three sets of lights together on a single extension cord as this could overload the outlet and result in a fire. Also, keep lights off of lower branches if you have pets as they can cause an electrical fire by chewing on them.
#2: Be mindful of the numerous fire hazards – Nothing is cozier than a roaring fire but make sure children are aware of the dangers. Install a gate around the fireplace and keep matches locked away once the fire has been lit. If you have a gas fireplace, store the key away and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Place all candles in holders with large diameters to contain any wax dripping and consider using “flameless” candles which are equally beautiful.
#3: Team up for cookie baking – Kids love making Christmas cookies almost as much as eating them. And usually, the messier the better! Get into the fun but assign jobs that are age-appropriate. Let older kids measure out ingredients and use electric mixers while the younger ones can roll out the dough and cut out shapes. Make sure everyone remembers good hand washing!
#4: Consider additional safety measures when decorating – If there are young children, pets or older relatives in your home, be sure it’s decked out safely. Secure Christmas trees to the wall, place skid-proof mats at the front foyer to prevent falls from wet floors, and tie extra electrical cords to table legs or secure to the wall.
#5: Party Planning 101 – Elegant table settings can easily become a heap of china and crystal if a toddler inadvertently pulls a tablecloth off the table. Use a festive runner in the center of the table with matching place mats instead. Keep guests’ purses and bags in a closed room to prevent children from getting into medication or other dangerous items. Holiday punches and eggnog can look enticing to a child so be on the look-out for abandoned, half-empty glasses that might be within their reach.
#6: Have a plan for crowded malls – Stores are more crowded than ever during the holiday season. Many distractions such as carolers and of course, Santa Claus, are on hand to entice a child to stray away from mom and dad. Be sure they know their home phone number and your cell phone number and tell them that if they get lost to find a “mommy” to ask for help.
#7: Don’t announce to the world where you are – We are becoming a society where we tell everyone through Twitter and Facebook about our plans. Avoid commenting on your out-of-town holiday getaways or even trips to the mall or to take in a show. You are potentially letting any would-be burglar know that your house is empty.