Christmas Guide

How to Make the Holidays Safe for Your Family

At home or on the road, make safety a priority.

By: Aimee Morales | December 24, 2016
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Christmas safety tips for family and kids

Keep lighted candles away from little children.

When we speak of safety during Christmas season, it’s not only about the tree lights, candles, and other fire hazards. There are many other safety issues that we have to consider so the whole family can be safe during the celebrations. Whether at home, on the road for shopping, a party, or a trip, and even more so when buying gifts for children, we should make safety a priority.

Here is a list of helpful tips to keep in mind during this merry season.

1. Choose and use Christmas décor properly.

Christmas lights. Before using your Christmas lights, check for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Avoid octopus lines to minimize an overloaded electrical system. Never place cords under the carpet, and check your lights frequently to make sure that the wires are not getting warm. When it’s time to change a bulb, unplug the lights first before replacing the light.

Do not let your children play with the Christmas lights. Always turn off the Christmas lights and other electrical décor before you sleep or go out of the house.

Christmas tree and ornaments. If you are buying an artificial tree, choose one that is flame retardant. Position your tree at least 3 feet away from candles, fireplaces, heaters or radiators, or heat vents. Place it away from curtains and other materials that might burn.

If you have small children, be careful where you place the tree ornaments. Hang breakable ones or those with sharp parts closer to the top of the tree.

Candles, matches, and lighters. Keep all matches and lighters out of children's reach. Keep lighted candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and don’t forget to blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.

Others. Watch out for poisonous plants like mistletoe berries, holly berry, and Jerusalem cherry—they can harm your children or pets. Check all your décor for lead. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested.

2. Secure your home before you leave.

Christmas safety tips for family and kids

Lock or bolt all your doors and windows before you leave your home.

Before going out to shop or to go on a trip, lock or bolt all doors and windows. Avoid declaring your whereabouts on social media. Sometimes it is safer to leave a light on (or the TV set) when no one is in the house to keep burglars at bay.

Don’t leave your valuables where they can be seen through windows, for instance. Place your jewelry, cash, and other valuables inside a safe deposit box or a locked drawer.

3. Be extra alert on the road to avoid problems.

Christmas safety tips for family and kids

Plan the trip carefully so you are not tired for a long drive.

People are usually busy and distracted during the holidays. Watch out for pedestrians or drivers who may not be paying attention to their surroundings. Always be alert and avoid talking over the phone and texting while you are in a public space. This also applies when you are behind the wheel. Remind your children, particularly teens, to be extra alert during the Christmas season.

If you are going away on a long drive, plan the trip carefully so you are not tired, hungry, or sleepy while driving. When inside your private vehicle, lock all doors at once. Check the seats and safety belts before leaving. Do not drink and drive.

When waiting for a public utility vehicle, stay in a well-lit area. Do not sleep inside a taxi, public vehicle, or rented car (Uber, Grab). As a safety measure, get the plate number of your vehicle and inform your family member or trusted friend.

4. Check children's toys and other items carefully before buying or letting your children use them.

Christmas safety tips for family and kids

Before letting your kids play with toys, read the enclosed instruction manual and tell them how to use it properly.

Buy or give age-appropriate toys or gifts. Make sure that they are from good sources or made by manufacturers that comply with safety regulations and standards in toy manufacturing. Check for small parts that could pose a choking hazard. Be careful with pull toys with strings that are longer than 12 inches. Babies could get strangled or toddlers might trip over the strings.

Read the enclosed instructions carefully before allowing your child to play with a toy he has received as a gift. Make sure that you teach your child how to use the toy properly. Supervise children when playing with toys that need to be plugged into an electric outlet. Without proper supervision, this may lead to burns or electrocution.

Whenever a child uses a bicycle, scooter or skateboard, a helmet and other safety gear are necessary.

Can you think of other measures that people can take to keep our homes and families safe this Christmas? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

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About Aimee Morales
Aimee Morales is a freelance writer and editor. She is the founder of FLOW, a small community of writers who write for healing and inspiration. She started the Freelance Writers' Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) in 2010 and served as its president until September 2020. Balangay Productions published her first book, “Why Mandaya Teens Have Sharp Black Teeth” in 2015. Five years later in 2020, she published her second book (an eBook) titled, “Alignment: Lessons on Writing”. Aimee is a single mother, tai chi and eskrima practitioner, and creator of the #santoshaproject - a personal effort to encourage more people to incorporate the Santosha gratitude practice into their daily lives.
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