Tips for safe holiday gatherings

With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to keep in mind that not all homes have been adequately “childproofed.”

With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to keep in mind that not all homes have been adequately “childproofed.” Families, especially those with young children, should be extra conscious of safety when visiting grandparents, relatives and friendswho may not have children in their home regularly.

“Today’s grandparents grew up in a world without car seats, smoke alarms or bike helmets. Parents of young children need to let their own parents know that important changes have been made in child care,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital. “Before a child comes to visit, a relative who doesn’t have young children at home should look for potential hazards at and below a child’s eye level.”

Additional holiday safety tips:

  • Electric water heaters should be set to 120ºF or below. Gas water heaters should not be set above the “warm” setting to prevent scald burns.
  • If there are firearms in the home, store them unloaded and in a locked area. Lock the ammunition in a separate place.
  • Pick up any small objects that could be a choking hazard.
  • Tie the cords of window blinds out of reach.
  • Lock up any matches or lighters.
  • Store all potential poisons out of reach, including medicine, cleaning products and alcohol.
  • Keep the toll-free number for the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center hot line, (800) 222-1222, next to every phone in the home.
  • Put safety gates on the stairs and child safety locks on cabinets and drawers.
  • Make sure children always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or in-line skates. For skates and scooters, knee pads also are recommended. When giving a child a bike, scooter or skateboard, be sure to also include protective equipment.
  • All children 40 inches tall and under must be properly restrained in a car seat when riding in a moving vehicle. In Kentucky, children younger than age 7 who have outgrown car safety seats are required by law to ride in booster seats until they are 50 inches tall. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation of safety and booster seats.
  • In a car, always buckle up – children learn by watching you!

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