Family and Friends Holidays

A Parents’ Guide to Holiday Safety

Caucasian mother with two sons laying under a Christmas tree

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The magic of the holidays brings family and friends together in a spirit of celebration. With all the dazzling lights, decorations, special foods and brand-new toys, some safety hazards may be present, but these tips can help you and your family enjoy the holidays to the fullest. And since accidents do happen from time to time, know that our Children’s Care team is always ready with expert, compassionate care.

Decorating Safety

Decorating for the holidays is fun for the whole family, and it’s great to be able to enjoy the results of your decorative flair throughout the season. Here are some safety tips to consider when selecting age-appropriate décor.


Place fragile ornaments and decorations out of children’s reach or wait until children are older before using them. Small, shiny ornaments and tinsel attract the eyes and hands of young children and can be choking hazards. Anything small enough to fit into the mouth of an infant or toddler poses a choking risk.

Lights and Candles

Strings of lights, like many appliance cords, may contain lead. Ensure that lights are displayed beyond the reach of children.

Whenever possible, avoid using real candles as part of your decorations. Make sure that any lit candles around your home are kept away from flammable items and can’t be tipped over. Don’t leave burning candles unattended.

Unplug all holiday lights and extinguish all candles before going to bed. Plugging extension cords into surge protectors should be avoided as it’s a fire hazard. Check all wires, ensuring none are damaged or frayed.


There’s nothing like the scent of a real tree in your home at this special time of year. If you have a natural tree, make sure to keep it watered since dry trees pose an extra danger of catching on fire. Keep it secured in a good stand so it doesn’t fall over and away from all heat sources.

Some plants may look beautiful and festive, but make sure to keep poisonous and potentially harmful holiday plants, such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias, away from kids and pets.

New Toy Safety

The joy of seeing your child’s surprise as they open their new presents is priceless. After opening gifts, collect all bows, ribbons, wrapping paper, bags and tape and stow them safely away to avoid choking hazards.

Choose Age-Appropriate Gifts

Provide young children with age-appropriate gifts, and avoid toys that plug into outlets, as well as balloons and toys with strings or other small parts.

Battery and Box-Cutter Safety

Make sure batteries are out of your kids’ reach. If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, it is imperative to seek immediate medical treatment. When unwrapping and putting together new gifts, keep box cutters and scissors out of children’s hands and reach.

Outdoor Gear

If you’re getting the kids some outdoor adventure gear, don’t forget to include a helmet with that new bike, skateboard or pair of rollerblades.

Travel Safety

To make the most of your holiday travel experience, keep the following ideas in mind for your kids’ well-being.

Emergency Travel Card

Keep an emergency travel card containing identification and contact information in your children’s pocket that contains information such as your hotel and emergency contact phone numbers. These can even be pinned inside your child’s jacket.

ID Bracelets

ID bracelets are excellent for very little ones who may not know their phone number and home address yet. If any of your children have a medical condition, make sure they wear their medical ID bracelet.

Safety Plan

Talk to your kids ahead of time regarding a safety plan if you become separated. Let them know who is safe to talk to for help, like a security officer or store employee.

Continue to follow safe practices to avoid contracting a holiday virus while traveling, like hand-washing and wearing a mask in public, especially on public transportation.


Don’t forget to pack all necessary medicines. If you do forget them, call your physician so they can send a prescription to a pharmacy near you.

Food Safety

Holiday foods make special treats for everyone, and children may enjoy helping in the kitchen. Keep a close eye on little ones while baking or cooking to prevent burns.

Kitchen Safety

Always ensure that oven doors are closed and that pot handles are turned away from the front of the stove so they can’t be pulled off. Keep the oven door closed or children at a safe distance when the door is open.

Avoiding Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a danger, especially for small children. Thoroughly wash hands, utensils and surfaces that come into contact with raw meat and eggs, and make sure all food and baked items are properly cooked before giving them to children.

Choking Hazards

At holiday parties, some popular items like popcorn, nuts and hard candies can be choking hazards. Keep them out of reach of children.

Have a Holiday Health Plan

When preparing for this season’s festivities, we want you to have peace of mind knowing that we’re here for your children should they need care quickly. Our compassionate staff will work to get them better quickly so you and your family can keep enjoying your celebrations. Learn more about our care for children.

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