Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Keeping your children safe through the holidays

Andrea Klassen
Andrea Klassen, Alberta Health Services

The holidays are an exciting time of the year for everyone, but also an important time to remember safety when it comes to your children. Take turns watching the children at holiday get-togethers, because often family and friends assume someone else is watching the children when no one really is.

Here are a few tips to help keep your home and your family safe this Christmas season (Parachute Canada, 2015).

Toy Safety: 
  • Purchase toys that are age appropriate, toys that are made for children who are older can contain small parts or other hazards that may be unsafe for young children. These small parts can pose as a choking hazard; 
  • Read the assembly instructions that come with each toy, they contain important information about age, warnings and safety messages that should be followed; 
  • Purchase sturdy, well-made toys – avoid cheap toys that can break and become a hazard; 
  • Purchase toys that include contact information for the manufacturer or the importer; 
  • Remove broken pieces, sharp edges or damaged toys from play; 
  • Remove all packaging including plastic wrap, foam, staples, plastic films and ties from all purchased toys; 
  • Always check the Government of Canada’s Recalls and Safety Alerts Database to see if a toy has been recalled. 
Christmas Trees & Plants:
  • Place your Christmas tree away from the main living area to help your toddler resist the temptation of touching, grabbing and trying to put ornaments in their mouth; 
  • Put your Christmas tree out of reach or consider a smaller tabletop tree that is beyond your child’s reach; 
  • Put your tree in a room that has a child safety gate on it, so they can see the tree but aren’t able to touch the tree; 
  • If you have younger children, it is advised to have soft, unbreakable decorations; 
  • Keep holiday plants out of reach – mistletoe and holly are poisonous and can cause an upset stomach. 

Holiday Lights & Candles: 
  • Holiday lights and electrical cords should be kept out of your child’s reach. Your child could suffer electrical burns from touching hot lights, putting them in their mouths or by chewing on them; 
  • Use LED holiday lights that does not get hot when used, this will help eliminate the chance of your child being burned; 
  • Place all holiday candles in a sturdy holder that won’t tip over; 
  • Place candles away from flammable materials including curtains or tablecloths; 
  • Do not place candles on a table that has a low hanging tablecloth that your child could pull on and knock the candle over. 
These are just a few simple tips that will help keep your home safe during the holiday season. Remember, the holidays are an exciting time for everyone but safety is important any time of the year.

Andrea Klassen is a health promotion facilitator and can be reached at

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