The holiday season is here, and families all over Texarkana are preparing to celebrate. Lights are hung, trees are decorated, gifts are being wrapped, and with all of these things comes the increased risk of household accidents. The happiest time of the year is also usually a time when family members might fall and things might break. Unfortunately, not even emergencies take a break for the holidays.
To help your family stay safe and happy for the festive season, Texarkana Emergency Center wants to share the best tips and tricks to keep your household safe during the holidays. These easy steps include tasks for the whole family, so that parents can teach their kids how to keep themselves and the house safe as well.
One of the biggest household accident risks during the holidays is fire. With increased number of electrical outlet uses, culturally important candles, and the use of heaters and fireplaces, there are more generators of heat and sparks around the house than usual. To limit the risk of house fires, families need to be diligent and check their decorations to make sure they meet the following suggestions:
- Make sure candle settings, like menorahs or kinaras, are kept at least 12 inches away from any flammable decorations or gifts.
- Do not overload your electrical outlets, and keep all plugs uncovered or buried by decorations and gifts. Give electrical plugs plenty of air and don’t keep them on unattended, to avoid overheating.
- Keep the fireplace clear of all decorations and gifts. Give at least 12 inches of space to make sure no embers or flames run the risk of lighting. Also, keep a metal grate or curtain in front of the fireplace to contain any ash, embers, and smoke.
Parents can get kids involved in fire safety too. Remind them of the rules of fire safety, and if you happen to have decorations or gifts placed too close to the fireplace or a lit flame, make it a game to rearrange the holiday decorations in a new way. This can get your kids excited to be involved and help them remember how to prevent household fires.
For houses that have holiday trees, keeping them properly maintained can be a chore sometimes. But keeping the tree watered and cleaning up pine leaves can be important for household safety. Dried out trees are more likely to be a fire hazard, and scattered pine leaves can become a choking and digestive hazard for infants and pets. If you have young children and want to get them involved in holiday tree care, then try naming your family’s holiday tree! Task your children with checking its water levels every day, to take care of their special tree. Then, after the holidays when the tree is ready to go out for recycling, you can talk to your kids about how holidays trees are grown on special tree farms, and after spending a special holiday with your family, the tree needs to go back home.
Older children who are ready for more mature responsibility, should be trusted more with watering and even vacuuming or sweeping up tree shedding regularly. Praising their responsibility is a good way to make them feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work.
With gift-giving holidays comes the inevitable trip to the toy store for kids in the family. Many children will ask for new toys and gifts for the holidays, wanting new things to play with, but parents need to make sure they are getting the right toys for their little ones. When shopping for toys, check for:
- Fabric-based toys that are marked as flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Stuffed toys that are washable.
- All art materials, like paint sets and Crayons, that are nontoxic and marked with “ASTM D-4236,” which shows they have been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Plastic, wooden, or metal toys that have been painted that are marked as “lead-free.”
If you follow these guidelines, then anyone can ensure that they are not only getting a great toy for their little one, but a safe toy. It is also important for parents to only buy toys for their kids which are age appropriate. The recommended ages on toy boxes are not indicators of intelligence or maturity of the child using them, rather they are indicators of safety. For example, toddlers and infants who might be using blocks and showing signs of creativity with them should not be given Lego blocks. Legos are often small and sharp edged, which can be dangerous for infants and toddlers who might hurt themselves using them or choke on them. Instead, find age-appropriate blocks with soft edges that your child can enjoy instead.
With these three things in mind, families can stay safer during the holidays. At a time when household accidents rise, it is important to stay mindful and make sure your family gets to enjoy the holidays properly. Getting your children involved in the household safety rules can help them to learn as well as teach them responsibility during this important time of year. Parents, in return, should be more mindful of the toys they buy for their children, to make sure playtime is as safe as it is fun.
In the case of any household accidents or inconvenient illnesses, Texarkana Emergency Center is here to help. Our facility is open 24/7, even on the holidays, with concierge-level care for patients of all ages. From our family to yours, we wish everyone in our community a healthy and happy holiday season.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Texarkana Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.