Holiday decorations, traveling, new toys, and visiting homes that may not be childproofed, can put your children in danger.
Some simple precautions can help to make sure that your children have a fun and safe holiday.
Childproofing for the HolidaysMost parents understand the importance of childproofing their homes. Gates on stairs, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and keeping medicines and poisons out of reach are fairly standard in many homes. In addition to the risks of holiday decorations, younger children can get into trouble if they visit a home during the holidays (or anytime of year) that isn't childproofed.
It is especially likely that a home isn't childproofed if you are visiting grandma and grandpa and they don't usually have children in the house. In addition to not having safety locks on cabinets, gates on stairs, covers on electrical outlets, etc., they may also have prescription medications that aren't in a child resistant container. Things to be especially watchful for, and which you may want to ask about, include:
- Do they have a pool? Does it have a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate? Can the children get to the area where the pool is located?
- Are there guns in the house? Are they stored unloaded in a locked box with the bullets locked separately?
- Are there small objects, such as hard candy or nuts in candy dishes, where younger children can get them?
- Are there gates on the stairs?
- Are medications, poisons and household cleaners out of reach?
- Do they have a pet that may harm the children, such as a rottweiler, pit bull or German shepherd?
- If your child has food allergies, will they be serving that food?
Toy SafetyThe following tips will help consumers choose appropriate toys:
- Select safe toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.
- For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
- Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts.
- For all children under age 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.
- Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
- Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.
- Check instructions for clarity. They should be clear to you, and when appropriate, to the child.
- Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys, which can cause suffocation, before they become deadly playthings.
- If your child is going to be getting something that he can ride, such as a bicycle, inline skates, scooter, or a skateboard, be sure that he also gets the appropriate protective equipment, including a helmet and pads.
- Discourage your kids from playing with BB and pellet guns.