Health Topics: Holiday Safety
Column by Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool
From October to January the holidays are a joyful time for families. The excitement of holiday activities can make us forget to be careful. Some risks include fire from candles or Christmas tree lights; burns from ovens, camp fires or fire crackers; auto accidents while trick-or-treating; food poisoning from poorly prepared or stored foods; injury from trick-or-treats or even stranger abduction while shopping or at large, noisy gatherings. Tragedies that occur during holidays live forever in the minds of the child and the family.
Try This at Home:
• Use the holiday season to review safety measures your children may have learned already such as “stop, drop and roll” if they catch fire, or “be like a tree” if meeting an unleashed dog on Halloween or during New Year’s firecrackers.
• Make the holiday season the time to do an annual safety check of your home, including checking fire extinguishers and fire alarm batteries.
• Be clear about rules for your family about stranger safety, traffic safety, fireworks safety, pet safety and kitchen safety. Teach your rules before the event, model the rules when you are cooking or handling fireworks, and reinforce your teaching while you are modeling the rules. Children learn more by watching what adults do than from listening to what adults tell them.
• Consider the following rules for fireworks: light fireworks at arm’s distance with a taper-style lighter, stand back 8 feet, never go back to a lit firework, never throw fireworks or keep them in your pocket, keep pets indoors.
• When shopping for a costume, make sure it is fireproof. Let your child try on masks to find ones with eye holes large enough for good peripheral vision. Face paint for small children is better than masks that may impair their vision.
• Bring good flashlights and/or wear reflective or light colored clothing to outdoor events at night. This will not only prevent falls, but also makes it easier for cars to see you.
Remember: Holiday accidents can be prevented if caregivers teach, review and model safety measures with their children.
Contributions from Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool, a program of Partners in Development Foundation. Tutu and Me is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.