The holiday season is a time to practice safety. Let's all do our part to make this a happy and safe holiday.
Look for artificial trees that are fire-resistant. Check for freshness of live trees. Needles should not easily fall off. Keep your fresh tree well-watered and away from radiators, fireplaces and other heating devices. Choose decorations that are fire-resistant and lead-free. You don't want kids to try to eat ornaments that look like food or candy, so keep them away from youngsters and remove broken ornaments quickly. Keep candles and open flames away from trees. Use only lights that are designed for their indoor or outdoor usage as instructed. Plug all lights into outlets that are ground-fault circuit interrupters to prevent electrocution. Turn off all lights at bedtime or whenever you leave the house.
Keep fireplace salts away from kids. They make the fire look great, but they contain heavy metals that are poisonous. Don't burn wrapping paper.
Read all instructions on toy packages before allowing children to play with them. Check recommended ages for all toys. Beware of small pieces or balloons, ribbon and other items that can cause choking. Pull-string toys should not be longer than 12 inches.
Food preparation is very important. All foods and hands should be washed thoroughly. Never leave meats out to thaw. Keep hot foods and liquids away from kids. Items that require refrigeration should not be left out for longer than two hours.
When visiting, remember that not all homes are childproofed. Keep an eye out for your children and their whereabouts. Babysitters should have emergency contact numbers. In addition to parent numbers, always leave the numbers for police, fire and the pediatrician.