There are so many things to love about the holidays- family gatherings, traditions passed down from generation to generation, baked goods and twinkle lights- just to name a few. The holidays are especially magical for children. However, the good tidings are accompanied by some added holiday dangers. Below are some things that we can do to help keep the holidays merry, bright and safe:
- Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias and Jerusalem cherry plants are commonly used as decorations during this festive time of year. However, they are considered potentially poisonous. Symptoms of plant poisoning can include rashes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect that your child has eaten a part of these plants, call the National Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. A good substitute for these plants would be artificial plants.
- When decorating a holiday tree, keep shatter-proof ornaments near the bottom or keep all ornaments out of reach of small hands.
- Toy packaging can often include small twist ties, wires, plastic clips, etc. When un-boxing these gifts, do so away from small hands and be sure to discard all tiny pieces that could pose as choking hazards.
- Turn off tree lights when you leave your home and before going to bed. If using a real tree, make sure to keep it watered, as to not become a fire hazard.
- Alcohol poisoning is a risk for children during the holiday season. Take care to keep alcohol out of reach of children. Talk to guests about keeping track of their cups so that children can’t have access to them.
- Electrical outlets can often become overloaded with lights, decorations, etc. which can lead to fires.
- Before shopping with children, tell them about safe people (like store clerks, managers, security guards) they can go to if they get separated from you while shopping. Make sure, when old enough, they know your name or number in case they need to tell someone to get ahold of you.
- Some children are uncomfortable greeting relatives with hugs. A good way for children to greet relatives is with a high-five, handshake or fist bump. By not making a child give hugs, we are empowering children that they are in control of their bodies.
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About the Author
Carol Logan is a Community Educator with Alliance For Children who spends close to 90% of her time in schools located around Tarrant County talking to children about personal body safety, through a program called P.S. It’s My Body and Internet safety, through a program called Netsmartz. When Carol is not at work, she is playing with her dog Bodie and spending time with family.