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Tips to keep your family safe this holiday season

christmas girl

As Christmas approaches, here are a number of tips to keep your family safe and comfortable this holiday season.

Children and fireplaces: We should be very cautious around young children as they get near fireplaces. Even as the fires go out, these surroundings can remain very hot. When fires are active, children will be quite drawn to them. They may be tempted to play with them or put things in them to burn.

Poisons: This time of year there’s an increased risk of poisoning. Sometimes it’s the items we bring into our homes, such as poinsettias and mistletoe, that young children can chew on, suck on or actually eat that can be harmful if they have a large enough quantity. This is also a risk for some pets. Also remind guests that pills and any type of medication need to be well stored. 

Cold and flu: During the winter season, cough and cold become much more common. As we’re traveling or visiting with friends and relatives from out of town, it is important to take good care of yourself if you have cough, cold or fever symptoms. Make sure you’re washing hands well, everyone’s up to date on their vaccinations, and consider keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby.

Keeping babies and the elderly healthy: Remember there are certain populations that don’t have very good immune systems. This includes the very young and very old. Babies at this point have a poor immune system and are just not ready to be exposed to many of the viruses and bacteria in our environment, and older people are especially susceptible to cough and cold season.

Buying gifts for children: When buying Christmas gifts for children, stop for a moment and consider: do they really need that new electronic toy, or will the classic be even better? Many times trying to get our children active and engaging with the environment around them is going to be much better for their health.

Cooking and food safety: Along with the holiday season we find ourselves spending a lot of time preparing very special meals in our kitchens. Be very careful and create a zone of safety around your oven and stove, as these tend to be very hot objects. Foods that are meant to be consumed very quickly either need to be disposed or put back in the refrigerator after about two hours.

Wiggle time: During this stressful time of year also think about how much wiggle time your kids are getting. Give them a chance to get up, move and be a little bit crazy as a kiddo to burn off some of that excess energy. 

Maintain young children's sleep routine: Try your hardest to make sure your child’s as close to their normal sleep routine as possible, especially if you’re changing multiple time zones for only a few days. Things that can help them go to sleep in a strange environment include things from home such as pillows, blankets or favorite stuffed animals.

About Amy Seery MD