The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. As families come together to create lasting memories, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety of our little ones, along with our family and friends. From festive decorations to delicious treats, holiday safety ensures a holly, jolly, and safe holiday season for all! Let’s explore some tips:

Decorate with Care: Trimming the tree and decking the halls are cherished holiday traditions, but it’s important to do so safely. Choose child-friendly decorations, avoiding small, sharp, or breakable ornaments that could pose a choking hazard. A good rule is if an object can fit through a toilet paper roll, it can get stuck in a child’s airway! Secure heavy decorations to prevent accidental toppling and consider placing fragile items higher up on the tree, out of reach of curious little hands.  Avoid using metal ornament hooks. When picking a tree, remember if it’s artificial, make sure it is made with fire retardant material. If the tree is real, keep it watered so it doesn’t dry out and increase fire risk.  Be mindful of the needles falling off the real trees, not just for our kids, but for our pets! 

Lights Out for Safety: Twinkling lights add a magical touch to holiday decor, but they can also present safety hazards. Inspect all lights for frayed wires, broken bulbs, or other damage before hanging them. Opt for LED lights, which emit less heat and reduce the risk of burns. Purchase lights with the UL Listed mark, which certifies that the product has been tested to meet safety requirements.  Turn off the lights when leaving home or sleeping which can easily be managed with a connected auto- timer. Keep cords out of high-traffic areas to prevent tripping, and use safety covers on unused outlets to protect little fingers. Use power strips with built-in circuit breakers. Avoid putting too many plugs into one electrical outlet. Remember to check your smoke alarms regularly.

Watch the Treats: The holiday season is synonymous with delicious treats and sweets. While indulging in these festive goodies is part of the fun, it’s essential to be mindful of potential allergens. Clearly label homemade treats with ingredients, and inquire about allergies before offering treats. If hosting a gathering, create a designated area for snacks, keeping choking hazards out of reach of small children.  Holidays also involve lots of festivities around the kitchen, so be mindful of hot foods and liquids, use the back burners on a stove and turn pot handles away from the edge, knowing kids will be running around.  Ideally, set a kid-free zone around the kitchen, if possible, but be aware of those Houdini’s that sneak through!

Fire Safety: Whether you’re lighting candles for ambiance or kindling a cozy fire, fire safety is paramount. Keep candles out of reach and never leave them unattended. Keep the candles at least 12 inches from any other items and blow them out when leaving the room.  If using a fireplace, install a safety gate to prevent accidental burns or contact with hot surfaces.  Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children. Take a moment to review fire escape plans with your family, ensuring everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.

Travel Safely: For families embarking on holiday travels, safety should extend beyond the home. Ensure car seats are properly installed and meet safety standards. Pack an emergency kit with essentials, and plan for frequent breaks during long journeys to allow restless kids to stretch their legs and burn off energy.

Mindful Gift Giving: While the excitement of gift-giving is a highlight of the season, it’s important to consider age-appropriate gifts. Be cautious with toys that have small parts that could pose a choking hazard, making sure batteries cannot be easily removed, and always follow the recommended age guidelines. Button or disk batteries are a choking hazard and a medical emergency if swallowed.  Do not place gifts under the tree that are glass, contain sharp objects, contain cologne, perfume or other poisonous material. Check for recalls on toys and other children’s products to ensure they meet safety standards.

Monitor the Alcohol: While holiday season is a celebration for all and adults will have gatherings and celebratory toasts, keep the alcohol out of reach of children. 

Winter Wonderland Safety: Florida may not pose a freeze concern, but if you are visiting the colder northern states, properly bundle up with gloves, jackets, facial covers to avoid cold injuries.  Also enjoy those winter sports of sledding, skiing, ice skating with the proper safety equipment.  Those of you enjoying Florida, don’t forget the helmets for biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, rock climbing and Water Safety while enjoying the pool and beaches, our Florida Winter Wonderland!

Shopping Safety:  Holiday season brings out the crowds of shoppers, even with online shopping available! Watch your children in the crowded parking lots and in chaotic stores, hold their hand.  Be an attentive driver and warn your teens to do the same.  Put those phones down when driving.  Car safety seats are always important all year long. If your older kids will be shopping online, teach them online safety.

The holiday season is a time of joy, but it’s essential to prioritize the safety of our little ones during the festivities. By taking simple precautions and staying vigilant, you can create a holiday environment that is not only festive but also safe and secure for the whole family. From decorating the tree to sharing delicious treats, let’s make this holiday season one to remember for all the right reasons! While we know things can still go wrong, please contact Professional Urgent Care Services for any of your holiday accidents, illnesses or concerns! 

By Bhumi Upadhyay, MD FAAP Professional Urgent Care Services

640 Tyrone Blvd N. St Petersburg, FL 33710 Phone: 727-605-5591