A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tips To Keep Your Children Safe During The Holiday Season


The holidays are such an exciting, magical time for everyone, especially toddlers and children. During the Holiday Season you need to be extra vigilant to keep your children safe. There are many extra factors that put your children more at risk for injury during the holiday season, including gatherings at the homes of friends and family that may not be childproofed, home decorations such as Christmas trees, lights and menorahs and traveling. But, with a little planning and thought, parents can make it a fun-filled time for the entire family.

  • When buying a tree, make sure it isn’t dry. The needles should not come off the tree easily. Keep the tree's stand full of water to prevent it from drying out so that it doesn't become a fire hazard.
  • If buying an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled fire resistant. An artificial tree may not smell like the real deal, but may be the best choice if you have crawlers or toddlers, because you don’t have to worry about pine needles falling off the tree and becoming a hazard.
  • Place only unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches and make sure the tree is stable. Instead of using ornament hooks, which can be dangerous if your child gets a hold of them, consider using ribbon.
  • Your lights should all have been tested by Underwriters’ Laboratories Inc. UL tests virtually every electrical gadget available in the United States for safety. You should also unplug all of your indoor lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Keep all candles and menorahs out of a child’s reach and away from the edge of a table. Never leave a candle burning unattended.
  • Holiday plants such as mistletoe, and holly, can cause illness if ingested. The berries look like food to little children, so it is important to keep these plants out of reach as well.

Happy Gatherings

  • Be careful with high risk foods and holiday treats that can pose a choking hazard to children under age four. This includes nuts, hard candy, grapes, raw carrots, popcorn, and apples.
  • When visiting the home of someone else, make sure their house is childproofed, and be extra vigilant
  • If at a party or hosting a party, make sure that their is an adult assigned to watch your child. The more adults around, the more prone a child is to injury, because every adult assumes that someone else is keeping a watchful eye on the child.
  • If your child has food allergies, be sure to keep this in mind when visiting others and having holiday meals. Be certain that the host knows of your child's allergies and does not offer foods to your child that he is allergic to. They should also be careful to not reuse dishes or serving utensils that come in contact with the allergic foods. Many children are exposed to new foods over the holidays, and it is not known whether or not they are allergic, keep a a close eyes for signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Elegant table settings can easily become a heap of china and crystal if a toddler inadvertently pulls a tablecloth off the table. A child could also be scalded by a hot beverage or food. Use a festive runner in the center of the table with matching place mats instead.
  • Make sure your child's car seat is installed properly. If you are not sure if your seat is in correctly, please feel free to contact Baby Bodyguards for guidance.

Courtney Ilarraza is a Brooklyn native and former Park Slope resident. Courtney and her husband Fred, started Baby Bodyguards,www.babybodyguards.com, a child safety company, dedicated to creating a safe environment for children ,without stifling their natural curiosity and while giving parents the peace of mind they deserve. Baby Bodyguards provides in-home safety evaluations, child proofing services and car seat installation classes/checks. The company was started after the birth of their son and after hearing of a string of preventable injuries that happened to children they knew.