Home Safety for Kids During the Holidays
Kids love to be home from school during holidays. However, all great things (holidays included) come with some risk. Your job doesn’t end just because school has closed for a holiday, but your kids are old enough that staying home without parental supervision should be fine, assuming proper, proactive parental guidance. How can you keep your kids safe when they are home during holidays? Below we will discuss a few holiday safety tips.
Ensure that your kids know the following safety information:
*not to answer the front door if they don’t know and trust the person on the other side of the door;
*not to release sensitive information to people they don’t know and trust (this is especially true when those communications occur via telephone or Internet);
*how to prepare quick and easy meals and snacks using the microwave;
*what items in your home are do-not-touch items (i.e., the large crystal vase over the mantel and the circular saw in Dad’s workroom);
*how to make wise choices around electrical current and natural gas lines;
*how to identify danger (i.e., sparks from an outlet, the smell of natural gas, a tornado siren sounding, an angry adult yelling and banging on your front door, etc.);
*what to do in the event of a home fire;
*what to do in the event of inclement weather;
*what numbers to call in case of emergency; and
*where to run to seek shelter if such is needed.
New Year’s Eve
Alcohol consumption is tied to new year’s eve celebrations in our culture. Media hypes this. Your kids are exposed to this concept and may be influenced. Make sure your kids know the dangers of alcohol consumption, especially when consumed to excess. Discuss the legal drinking age in your state and your expectations regarding your kids and alcohol. If there is alcohol in your home, keep in under lock and key.
Independence Day is strongly associated with fireworks. Many (but not all) states allow fireworks to be discharged on private property. In these states, fireworks stands entice young shoppers. Your kids should be instructed never to light fireworks without parental supervision. (Note: some safety-oriented fireworks do not involve flame. Other actions, such as compression, cause these fireworks to make small popping sounds to amuse kids.) All fireworks purchased by your family should be kept under lock and key for discharge only with parental involvement.
Strands of Christmas lights, fragile glass ornaments, and other hazards abound at Christmas. Your kids should be vigilantly on the look-out for trip hazards such as extension cords and piles of wrapped gifts, fire hazards such as malfunctioning extension cords and strands of Christmas lights, and puncture and laceration hazards from fragile glass ornaments that may fall or get knocked off your family Christmas tree or a decorated tabletop or shelf. If you have a family pet, your kids will need additional safety training to properly care for that pet. For example, if your kitty likes to chew on things, exposed live wires can be enticing. You should cover as many wires (i.e., extension cords and strands of Christmas lights) as possible to reduce this risk, your kids should keep kitty away from exposed wires, and they should know how to respond in the event that kitty has a mishap. If your puppy likes to swallow small objects, your family should ensure that no small items are left within his reach. If puppy accesses and ingests a small Christmas decoration nonetheless, your kids must know how to respond to that emergency.
Each holiday may have its own hazards in your home. Assess the risks and make a plan to eliminate or at least mitigate these risks before your kids are left home alone. Provide your kids with the proper safety training, and make sure your kids know who to call if something goes wrong.
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