This is a wonderful time of year. It’s also a really stressful one for many of us. Some quick reminders about ways to stay safe while bringing holiday decor into your home, traveling, while arguing with your brother about gifts, and when potentially having more alcohol around than is typical…

  • FIRE: Be careful of lit candles and check the safety of lights you place on trees or around the outside of your home. Christmas trees are like kindling for house fires. Check out National Fire Protection Agency’s info or watch this video of a tree catching fire.
  • DECOR: Holiday decorations often bring hazards for young children. This include candle holders, Christmas tree ornaments, plants, decorative garlands, and hot liquids. I’ve cared for many children with scald burns from soups and hot liquids. With decorations, anything longer than 12 inches can pose a strangulation risk. Make sure your trees and larger decorations are mounted in a way that your child (of any age) can’t pull them down upon themselves.
  • ALCOHOL: With holiday and New Year’s parties fast approaching, it’s good to have a plan for alcohol–if you’re serving it or drinking it. Many sober alcoholics relapse this time of year and many small drinkers consume alcohol more excessively. We have to be careful with our guests and ourselves — for our children. Clean up after parties, too–don’t want toddlers finding the punch!

This kind of advice feels heavy-handed and self-evident. It’s not as if we wouldn’t have thought of most of this. But that’s the thing about holiday time and accidents–accidents often happen from tiny oversights. It’s just so easy to mess up when things are out of the ordinary….

I was reminded of this when I received four 5-lb++ stocking holders for the fireplace mantel a couple of years ago. I’d neatly hung them up only to realize they were in reach of my then 2 and 4 year-old boys. They could have easily tugged on the stocking and the huge metallic weight would have come tumbling down. It’s still a bit nauseating to think about. Like all the other “what-ifs” of parenting, I suppose.

We can get really distracted by the glitter of the holiday and New Year’s season. For more info on keeping your family safe this time of year see Healthy Children’s Holiday Safety Tips.

Did you do anything like I did and realize just in time—ore better—did you do something you’re proud of in regards to protecting your children?  Share your wisdom.