Parenting • Dec 22, 2012

Celebrate the Season Safely – Part Two

Earlier this month we shared some tips on how to deck the halls without creating holiday hazards around the house. While I know we’re just days away from Christmas, I wanted to share some last-minute tips on safe gifts for the kids, as well as safe travels and healthy holiday meals.

Holiday Gifts and Toys:

• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Remove strings and ribbons from the packages before giving them to small children. Toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length pose as strangulation hazard for little kids. Teach your children to read instructions before using the gifts, especially with the battery operated toys.

•  Button batteries are often found in greeting cards, remote controls, small toys, and electronic gadgets. Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets. If this happens, seek immediate medical care.

•  Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.

Holiday Travel:

•  Of course your normal travel preparation should include your child’s regular prescription medications, any OTC meds you might want to keep handy, nebulizers or Epi-pen that you might need and keep these in your carry –on luggage if you are flying. And do not forget your little ones’ favorite toy or blanket that is as vital to them as your cell phone may be to you!

•  If you are leaving your child home with a care taker, be sure to leave all emergency contact info, the phone number for your child’s pediatrician and poison control number (1-800-222-1222). Do not forget to give a release form authorizing the caretaker   to seek emergency medical care for your child if necessary.

•  Remember that the homes and hotel rooms you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry products, stairways, or hot radiators.  With little children look out for any swimming pools, access to balconies, open fireplaces, freely available hard candies, and uncovered electrical sockets etc…

•  Travel tends to disrupt the child’s usual routine and increase their stress level. Try to stick to their normal feeding and nap timings as far as possible.

Holiday Food Safety:

•  Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco. Keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.

•  Holiday time is around the same time of the year when flu and other common viral respiratory illnesses peak. Stress on the importance of hand washing for adults and children.

•  Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them. Fully cook meats and poultry and thoroughly wash raw fruits and vegetables. Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Twinkling lights, warm fires, softly glowing candles, a dazzling Christmas tree and excited little faces waiting for Santa Clause! No wonder this is my most favorite time of the year for like many of you. What we don’t want is our festivities being disrupted by a preventable accident. Let us enjoy this holiday season with our friends and families and stay safe by following the above mentioned safety tips. Have a safe and joyous holiday season with your loved ones!