Although the holidays are an exciting time for children, they can also invite a lot of potential risks.  To ensure your children have a safe and healthy holiday season, here are a few tips to follow.

If you are purchasing toys, select toys suitable for age, abilities, skills and interest level of the child you are buying for.  Toys that are too advanced or that are not suitable for a child’s age may pose safety hazards to children.  Younger children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a low shelf or in a toy chest and also keep older children’s toys out of the reach of young children.

When preparing a meal for your family, fully cook meats and poultry and thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables.  Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separate and any food that requires refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.  Be sure to keep hot liquids and food away from the edges of counters and tables where it can be easily knocked over by a young child.  Most importantly you should wash your hands often while cooking.

If you plan on having a holiday party, clean up immediately after.  Children could choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.  Also clean up any clutter left over from opening presents, so a child does not trip and fall.  While attending other holiday parties, keep in mind not all other homes are going to be childproofed.  Keep an eye on your children and look out for dangerous spots like accessible cleaning products, open stairways or hot radiators. 

Always remember that when traveling, visiting or shopping, these can all increase your child’s stress levels.  Try to stick to your child’s normal routines, such as their eating and sleeping schedules, as much as possible to help you and your child enjoy the holidays.

Source: “Holiday Safety Tips.”