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From toys to decorations: Holiday Safety 101

During the holidays, a variety of seasonal toys, decorations, and other items can be potentially hazardous to your family. Here’s what you can do to help keep the season merry and safe.

Don’t Toy Around with Toy Safety

  • Choose toys appropriate for the age, abilities, and skills of your kids. Check the toy’s packaging for safety information, such as “Not recommended for children under 3 years of age.”

  • Select battery-operated toys, rather than toys that need an outlet, for kids younger than age 10.

  • Beware of pull toys with strings longer than 12 inches, which can pose strangulation hazards to young children.

  • Teach older kids to keep their toys away from little siblings.

  • Don’t give younger kids toys with sharp edges, small parts, or sharp points.

  • Help protect your little ones from choking by not giving them balls, marbles, and other toys that have parts smaller than 1¾ inches in diameter and 2¼ inches long.

  • If you give skateboards, bicycles, scooters, or inline skates to your kids, make sure they always wear helmets and other safety gear, such as wrist, hand, and shin guards, when using them.

Deck the Halls with Care

  • If you set up a Christmas tree, place it away from fireplaces, portable heaters, and radiators. Cut a few inches off the trunk of the tree to expose the fresh wood, which allows for better water absorption, and keep the tree well-watered so it doesn’t dry out and become a fire hazard. Before buying an artificial tree, check the label to make sure it’s fire-resistant.

  • If you have small children, avoid ornaments and decorations that resemble food or are breakable.

  • String outdoor lights using hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Turn all lights off when you leave the house or go to bed. The lights could short out and start a fire.

  • Clean up all used wrapping paper, bags, ribbons, and bows soon after opening presents—they could pose a choking, suffocation, or fire hazard.

Entertaining Made Safer

  • During cooking and mealtime, keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of tables and counters to prevent burns.

  • Keep an eye out for hazards when visiting family’s and friends’ homes, which might not be childproofed.

  • Don’t leave foods requiring refrigeration out at room temperature for longer than two hours.

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