Prioritizing Children Safety During the Holidays

by Ashley Guidry, Communications Associate

As the year slowly comes to an end, prioritizing children’s safety during get-togethers with family and friends is key to entering the holidays happy and healthy. Although most accidents are preventable, life itself is unpredictable. You can’t control every aspect of your day. According to the CDC, every hour a child in the U.S. dies from an unintentional injury. Here are some safety tips to remember:

  • Fall Safety: Falls are one of the leading causes of hospitalized injury in the U.S. for children ages 0-19. Take the necessary precautions to ensure your children don’t end up in a hospital.
    • Keep babies and young children strapped in when using high chairs, swings or strollers.
    • For crawlers and climbers, move furniture away from windows.
    • Supervise children during icy winter weather to prevent slips and falls.
    • Encourage children to wear properly fitted helmets when on wheels. Helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by at least 45%.
  • Firearm Safety: If you choose to carry a firearm within your household and have family visiting for the holidays, be sure to take extra precautions on how you store your weapon.
    • Educate children in your family to understand the safety guidelines about firearms, and even if a firearm looks like a toy, do not touch it!
    • Always place your firearms in a secure storage location, away and out of reach from any little ones wondering about.
    • Be sure you are educated on how your firearm operates. Do not keep the firearm loaded unless you intend to use it for safety purposes.
    • Consider purchasing a Project ChildSafe Safety Kit. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), of the 222 unintentional firearms deaths among children and teens in 2020, 42% of those deaths happened to children ages 0 to 14. Safe storage of firearms can prevent these unintentional deaths from happening.
  • Fire Safety: With New Year’s approaching it is the worst time for a fire to start, so it’s best to stay on top of any potential fire hazard.
    • While cooking, be sure to maintain a kid-free zone. But, if necessary, cook on back burners and be sure pot handles are faced away from the front of stovetops. Young children should always be supervised even while cooking.
    • Make sure children are at a safe distance when fireworks are in use to prevent burn injuries. Adults should watch children when sparklers are in use and they are pointed away from the child’s face.
    • Keep lit candles away from decorations. If possible, choose flame-resistant decorations.
    • Don’t throw any gift wrapping into fireplaces since they contain toxic chemicals.
  • Toy Safety: Every three minutes, a child is treated in a U.S. emergency department for a toy-related injury. According to Legacy’s Associate Chief of Clinical Services, Dr. Tamisha Jones,

“Many times families have their homes age-appropriate for their own children. During the holidays, though, people gather and visit family that may have smaller children or mobile toddlers. Older children may use toys in ways they hadn’t considered. Babies may put older children’s small toys in their mouths and choke. It’s important to remain mindful and flexible as you have others come to visit or visit other households.”

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    • Keep toys with small parts away from children under the age of three.
    • When shopping for toys, be conscious of the child’s age, interests and skill level.
    • Check toys for small parts that can be pulled/broken off.
    • Toys with strings or cord attachments longer than seven inches pose a strangling hazard. Keep those out of reach.
  • Water Safety: If you have a pool built near or at your house, even during the wintertime you must supervise children. Water-related situations can happen when you least suspect it. So far in 2023, 64 children alone have drowned in Texas.
    • Don’t let your guard down around pools, ponds and beaches.
    • Appoint a “water watcher” and encourage life jackets.
    • If you have a pool, make sure water barriers are up.

Realistically, you can’t keep track of every potential danger hazard. But as long as you try your best and remember the basics, you have nothing to fear. Have a safe break and happy holidays!