The holidays are no time for tears, burns, or bruises. Follow these simple tips to avoid drama and damage this year and to make sure your kids have a joyful holiday season.
If you’re going natural for the Christmas tree this year, try to go fresh, too. Dry trees with needles that fall off easily are bigger fire hazards than supple, green ones.
Secure the tree to the wall with an eye hook and twice or block it off with a safety gate if you have toddlers around. Use common sense and don’t hang ornaments on lower branches (for the sake of your pets, too!), especially if they pose a choking hazard or if they’re fragile, like glass.
Actively look for frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections, which can not only cause fires but also pose electrocution risks.
Never leave burning candles unattended or within reach of kids or pets. Keep them off of tables with tablecloths (which can get pulled) and flammable surfaces, especially if there’s a vent, door, or window nearby.
Common sense: ribbons, bows, twist-ties, and packing peanuts are harmful if swallowed.
In the Kitchen
Cooking for the holidays can get hectic, but don’t leave the kitchen unattended if there are young children around. Keep hot stovetop items on back burners.
If you have a gas stove, make sure to run the vent, as this often overlooked source of air pollution can introduce unhealthy levels of nitrogen dioxide into the air, which increases likelihoods of asthma attacks and other respiratory complications. Steam unchecked can also develop mold.
Thaw frozen meats in the fridge, not on counters to keep bacteria away from prying hands.
The cold doesn’t cause illnesses like the common cough, but it lowers your kids’ immune systems. Just make sure they bundle up before they go outside, get warm when they’re inside, and feed them immunity-boosting foods like garlic, onions, oregano, yogurt, fish, chicken soup, and foods containing vitamin C and vitamin K.
Check for the windchill factor, since windy days feel colder than windless ones.
Remember: anything above 30 degrees is fine for kids to play in, but you should start getting cautious when the temperature drops below that. If it’s between 20 and 30 degrees outside, get your kids to bundle up and take breaks by warming up indoors every 20 to 30 minutes. If it’s below 20 degrees, everyone should stay inside and enjoy the quintessential cup of hot cocoa.