As the holidays approach, keep your family safe by remembering a few important safety tips.

Decorating safety:

-Make sure Christmas trees have plenty of water to prevent them from drying out. Keep them away from radiators, fireplaces, candles, and other heat sources. If using an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled as “fire resistant.”

-Place fragile ornaments (those made with glass, sharp objects, small parts) toward the top of the tree, out of reach of young children and pets.

– Use appropriate decorating lights for “indoor” or “outdoor” use by checking the label. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Turn off all lights and unplug extension cords when not in use.

– Keep holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis out of reach of children and pets. These beautiful, yet poisonous, plants may be harmful if ingested.

Toy safety:

– Make sure presents are age-appropriate. Inspect all toys for small parts and other hazards. Remove strings, ribbons, and sharp objects. Read all instructions prior to use.

– Remove all wrapping papers, bags, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame.

– Be aware that batteries can cause severe damage if they are swallowed. Small button batteries and magnets can be found in toys, greeting cards, small electronics, and jewelry. If you suspect your child may have swallowed an object that contains a battery or magnet, seek emergent care.

Visitor safety:

– When visiting friends and relatives over the holidays, remember that not all households are childproofed. If you leave your children at home with a babysitter, make sure they have a list of all contact numbers, including the pediatrician and Poison Control.

– Be aware of foods and beverages your child may come in contact with. If your child has food allergies, make sure you are aware of all the ingredients in foods people have prepared for the party. Keep all hot and glass dishes far from countertop edges and alcoholic beverages away from young children.

– Clean up thoroughly during and immediately after a party. In a messy house, a child may find potential hazards including wrapping paper and strings, ornaments and hangers, choking foods and alcohol.

– Try to stick to the daily routine as much as possible with reasonable bedtimes, mealtimes, and expectations. This can help minimize stress for you and your family so that you all can have an enjoyable and relaxing holiday.

Happy Holidays from Shoreview Pediatrics