Christmas brings a flurry of activity, with presents to buy, rooms to decorate, meals to plan, and friends and family to entertain. By building safety into your Christmas planning, you can keep the day as stress-free as possible and make sure your family enjoys a safe and fun time.
So we’ve rounded up 10 top tips to help you keep your children safe over Christmas:
1. Shop wisely and buy toys that meet safety requirements
When shopping for Christmas presents, always head to reputable retailers, who take care about the products they stock year-round. Markets or temporary shops often sell illegally imported toys that are unlikely to conform to strict toy safety requirements. Counterfeit goods may have low prices but are illegal, are not made to proper safety standards and can be dangerous for little ones.
2. Ensure toys are age appropraite
Make sure that the toys you give are appropriate for the child’s age, as babies and toddlers can choke on small parts or swallow harmful components. Toys that are not intended for very young children are clearly marked.
3. Keep small things out of your child’s reach
Look out for small things that young children can choke on. Put small decorations high out of reach, tidy away small plastic toys from crackers and put small batteries (particularly the round, silver ones) out of reach of little fingers.
4. Sleep safety and child-proofing away from home
If you’re staying with relatives or friends over Christmas, remember that the top bunk of bunk beds can be dangerous for children under 6 years. And bear in mind that safety items you might have at home, such as stairgates and cupboard locks, might not be available where you’re staying.
5. Keep the stairs clear
On the big day itself, make sure stairs are free from clutter. Children will be rushing around to find visitors, open presents and play with their new toys, so remove things that could cause a bad fall down stairs.
6. Keep children out of the kitchen
The kitchen can be a hectic place on Christmas day. So keep young children out of the kitchen while you’re preparing Christmas dinner and all the trimmings, to avoid burns and scalds. One in 10 children’s accidents happen in the kitchen.
7. Remove alcohol
Clear away any bottles of alcohol and the last dregs of drinks left in glasses as even small amounts of alcohol can poison young children.
8. Lock away medicines
Make sure visitors to the house, such as grandparents, don’t leave medicines in places where children can find them, for example in handbags or counted out on bedside cabinets. Medicines are the most common cause of accidental poisoning in children, with everyday painkillers a frequent culprit.
9. Be cautious with candles
Keep candles away from Christmas trees and decorations. And don’t hang decorations from lights and heaters, as they can catch alight and burn easily.
10. Turn off Christmas fairy lights and check smoke alarms
Remember to turn off fairy lights and blow out candles before heading to bed. And check that your smoke alarms are working, so there’s time to get out if a fire does start.
With help from The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and the British Toy and Hobby Association.