Safe Kids Midlands
Palmetto Health Richland
7 Richland Medical Park Drive
Columbia, SC 29203
PHONE (803) 434-2955
FAX (803) 434-7379
Is Your Home "Childproofed" For the Holiday Season?
Holiday celebrations are happiest without injuries and accidents. Keep your family safe during the holidays by following the advice below.
Decorate your tree using only UL (Underwriters' Laboratories)-approved lights and cords.
Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.
Do not overload extension cords. Use no more than three strings of lights on one extension cord.
Never run an electrical cord under a carpet.
Be sure to secure electrical cords so that children cannot pull them and topple the tree.
Turn off the tree lights when you go to bed, leave the house or otherwise leave the tree unattended.
If you choose to buy a natural tree, look for a fresh one. Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire than older trees.
Keep your tree in a container full of water and check it daily.
Use a wide-based stand to make sure the tree is secure and will not fall over.
Cover the tree basin with a tree skirt or blanket.
Keep the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators and heating vents.
Cut back the lower branches to avoid eye injuries to small children.
Decorate your tree with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that are breakable, have small detachable parts or metal hooks or look like food or candy on the lower branches where small children can reach them. Also, make sure tree lights are hung out of reach of young children.
Never burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or even wrapping paper in your fireplace.
Dispose of your tree promptly after the holidays.
Avoid using candles. If you do use candles, make sure they are in a stable holder and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
Do not leave lit candles unattended
Do not place candles near draperies or anything that might easily catch fire.
Keep candles out of children's reach; keep matches and lighters out of sight and locked away.
Teach children not to touch or play with candles, matches or lighters..
Holiday Foods and Ornaments
Keep round, hard foods and candies such as candy cane pieces, mints, nuts and popcorn out of reach of young children.
Keep small ornaments, tinsel, figurines and other decorations away from children's reach. Infants and toddlers put everything in their mouths.
While preparing your home for the holidays, be aware of seemingly innocent and unexpected forms of poisons.
Install UL-approved carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
When burning wood, open the flue in your fireplace when burning wood to provide adequate ventilation.
Keep alcoholic drinks and their containers out of reach.
Keep the common baking ingredients vanilla and almond extracts out of reach. They contain high levels of alcohol and can make kids sick.
Beware of fire salts used in fireplaces to produce colored flames. They are poisonous if eaten.
Keep poisonous plants out of reach. Watch for holly and mistletoe berries that fall on the ground, because they are very poisonous if eaten. Click here for a full list of plants poisonous to children:
Avoid using artificial snow sprays to decorate. These sprays can irritate your lungs.
Know the Poison Control Center's national hotline number, 1-800-222-1222, and keep emergency medical service phone numbers by all telephones
Cook Up Something Safe This Holiday Season
Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen. Never hold a child while cooking.
Put pans on back burners and turn all pot handles toward the back of the stove.
Supervise your child when he or she is near or using a microwave, and never let a young child (under age 10) remove heated items from the microwave.
Never leave cooking food unattended - it is the number-one cause of house fires.
Place hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables. Don't leave them on placemats or tablecloths, either. Young children may pull the hot food down on themselves and get scalded.
AGE-APPROPRIATE TASKS FOR CHILDREN
Here is a general guide for when children might be ready for different cooking tasks.
Children over age 5 can:
Stir ingredients together in a bowl.
Rinse foods under cold water.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in dough
Children over age 9 can:
Use a butter knife or plastic knife to spread peanut butter or slice soft cheese.
Children over age 10 can:
Squeeze garlic from a garlic press.
Use electrical kitchen appliances, such as a blender, food processor, electric mixer, microwave or toaster oven.
Children ages 12 and up can:
Chop or slice with a paring knife.
Turn stove burners on and off and select oven temperature.
Flip pancakes on a hot griddle.
Place a tray of cookies in the oven.
Use an electric can opener.
Shred cheese with a hand grater.
Children over age 14 can:
Operate the stovetop without adult supervision.
Drain cooked spaghetti into a colander.
Remove a tray of cookies from the oven.
Sparky the Fire Dog teaches kids holiday safety
Multiple resources are available at this website including an interactive game which helps kids spot holiday safety risks.
Pediatricians advise parents how to make a safe holiday experience for their child