Ever since Santa decided to come down the chimney, children are in awe of this unusual entrance. But they accept it without question and eagerly anticipate his stealthy arrival in the middle of the night. NORAD joins the fun by tacking Santa’s progress from the North Pole. Couple this with gifts and food and the recipe for a great time can be taken for granted. But wait – being safe should never be taken for granted. Enjoy Christmas but keep it safe for you and your loved ones.
Some of the safety hazards during Christmas are:
Christmas tree and decorations:
Both artificial and natural Christmas trees are freely available in the market. If you are purchasing an artificial tree ensure that it is labelled “Fire Resistant”. If you decide to purchase a live tree, then make sure that the tree is fresh and the needles are green and hard to pull out. The location of the tree inside the house should not be close to a fireplace or radiator. It should be firmly anchored so that it does not topple over even if a child or your cat decides to climb!
Decorations are prominent on a Christmas tree. Use only lights which have been certified for safety standards. All lights should be checked for damage and loose connections. Just get rid of damaged decorations in the interest of safety. Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree. In case of a fault, the tree may become electrified. Do not use more than three connections to an extension cord. All electrical connections should have a neutral to reduce risk of shock. Children should be warned not to play or touch decorations.
A lighted fireplace is a part of the cozy family feeling during Christmas. Make sure the chimney has been cleaned and the vent open prior to lighting fires. There should always be a protective grate or shield in front of fireplaces. Children should be cautioned against throwing things in lighted fireplaces and warned not to touch due to heat. Roasting chestnuts, making smores should always be done with adult supervision. Better still, in an outside fireplace under supervision. Children should always wear flame retardant clothes. If you get a gift of children’s clothing from overseas, make sure they are flame retardant.
Read the instructions on the toy packaging carefully and ensure that it is appropriate for the age of the child. Demonstrate to the child how the toy can be used in a safe manner. It is safer to give children only battery operated toys to play with rather than those that run on electricity.
Ensure playing areas are safe
Since the weather is cold, possibly with snow, ensure the child is wearing appropriate clothing. Sledding on or in the vicinity of the road should not be allowed. Find a gentle, obstruction free slope for children to sled in. Young children should always be supervised by an adult.
Child-proof the house
Cleaning up soon after a party is a good idea. Never allow children to come into contact with alcohol or tobacco. Half drunken glasses of alcoholic beverages should be emptied immediately. Toddlers may find some leftover/trash and could be in danger of choking. Though you may child-proof your house, when you visit other houses, such precautions may not be in place and you should always be on alert. Keep a list of emergency numbers handy.
Prevent food poisoning
Christmas is a time for food and drinks. Certain types of food that are left unrefrigerated can lead to food poisoning. Make sure that children cannot get hold of anything they should not eat such as raw foods etc. Ensure that hot foods and liquids are stored out of reach of young children. Cooked and raw foods should never be mixed. They should be stored separately. Foods requiring refrigeration should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. They may get spoilt.
Drive safely using a designated driver
Imbibing alcohol is common during Christmas festivities. If you drink you should not drive. Make sure you have a designated driver in advance. The designated driver should be trustworthy and alcohol free during the entire party. Some host ask everyone to deposit keys in a jar and only gives them back if the driver has not imbibed. Call a cab. Most cab companies have discount deals when they take you home and pick you up the next day and drive you back to your parked car. Remember, alcohol takes time to metabolize and even though it is the next day, there may be enough in your blood stream to get a DUI.
Christmas is a time for enjoyment. By ensuring safety, you can have the satisfaction of seeing your children having a wonderful time with no cause to worry.
To all my readers a Merry Christmas and wish you and your loved ones a great 2015.