With Christmas less than a month away, now is the time to start thinking about measures to put in place that ensure everyone has a safe and festive season. To make sure you and your home are Griswold-proof, keep these holiday safety tips in mind as your family is decking the halls.

1. Schedule a Wellness Visit

While in the midst of a global pandemic, you may be apprehensive about going to the doctor. But it’s important to remember that prevention is the best medicine. If every member of your family hasn’t had their annual wellness visit yet this season, now is the time to get that scheduled. With December-February considered peak flu season, getting a flu vaccine for the kids (and the rest of the family) is crucial to keeping everyone as safe as possible this season.

2. Deck the Halls with Care

Seasonal decorations, including lights, trees and wreaths, can help put your household in the holiday spirit. However, when not used properly, decorations can create safety hazards particularly for families with young children. From miniature nativity scenes to fragile ornaments, it’s important to keep any choking hazards away from little ones. Remember: If it’s small enough to pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll, it’s small enough to be a hazard for kids. While you’re at it, be sure to keep any breakable decor (including fragile ornaments) out of reach like on a high shelf or near the top of the tree. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers even more holiday decorating safety tips on their website healthychildren.org.

3. Shop for Age-Appropriate Gifts

Last year, there were an estimated 162,700 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and 14 deaths to children younger than 15, with most of the deaths associated with choking on small parts, like small balls and small toy parts and riding toys. Be sure to follow age guidance and other safety information on the toy packaging, and choose toys that match your child’s interests and abilities.

4. Trim the Tree with Care

Christmas tree fires are a top hazard of the holiday season. Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water, and look for the “Fire Resistant” label when buying an artificial tree. Before stringing lights, double-check for frayed wires or cracks, and be sure there is a bulb in each socket. Discard and replace damaged strands. Indoor lights should not touch drapes, furniture or carpeting. Those with children in the home should also use safety caps on all electrical outlets that are not in use to prevent shock.

5. Make Sure All is Bright (And Cords are Secured)

No one will ever beat the Griswolds, but when attempting to make your days merry and bright, be sure to secure any dangling cords with clips. Outdoor lights and inflatable decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). And extension cords connected across the yard should be secured with stakes to prevent kids and adults alike from trips and falls. Also remember to use a timer or turn off lights before going to bed, or if you will be away from home.

6. Don’t Forget Safety Gear

When gifting a bicycle, scooter, or other riding toys, don’t forget safety gear to go along with it. Next to motor vehicle-related injuries, bicycles injure more children than any other consumer product, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Head trauma is the most common injury in accidents involving bikes, in-line skates, skateboards and scooters. Helmets should be worn properly at all times and be sized to fit. Wearing one can reduce the risk of death or injury and reduce the severity of the injury in the event of an accident.

7. Play it Safe on New Year’s Eve

The end of 2020 is one that many families will certainly want to celebrate, but it’s important not to let your guard down as the holiday season is coming to a close. Again, watch out for any party favors that could be considered choking hazards. And think twice before lighting those sparklers. The CDC warns that fireworks were involved in 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms last year.

Additional Resources

The team at Carithers Pediatric Group wishes your family a safe and happy holiday season. We are committed to providing quality care for your child, even in these uncertain times. Read our COVID-19 Action Plan and call our Riverside office at (904) 387-6200 or our Southside office at (904) 997-0023 to make an appointment.

For additional information on holiday safety for your family, check out these helpful resources: