Holiday Safety

Happy Holidays from Maryland TraumaNet! Stay safe and healthy!

Decorating for the Holidays

On average, there are about 200 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with about half of the incidents involving falls. 

When decorating for the holidays, keep these tips in mind:

  • If cutting down a live tree, make sure the tree has fresh, green needles, that don’t fall off when you touch the tree. Water your tree regularly, to prevent the tree from drying out.
  • If putting up an artificial tree, ensure it is flame resistant. Only use lights tested for safety by a national recognized testing laboratory.  Throw out sets with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. 
  • Decorate with your kids in mind, keep breakable decorations up and out of reach from children. Have your children decorate the bottom half of the tree with non-breakable ornaments.
  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Place burning candles in sight, 12 inches away from flammable items, and blow them out before leaving the room.
  • If using a ladder, have a good, stable placement and wear shoes that have good traction. Having a spotter is always a good idea.
  • Cooking Safety

    Did you know that cooking fires are the # 1 cause of residential fires?

    Be safe in the kitchen by following these tips:

  • Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • When cooking a meal or baking cookies, never leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven.
  • Keep the kitchen a kid-free zone. Have a 3-foot circle around the stove and oven to keep children away from hot surfaces.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing when cooking or baking.
  • Turn the pot’s handles towards the back of the range, preventing children to pull the pot down off the stove.
  • Do not hold a child while cooking. Engage children in other ways by decorating Holiday cookies.
  • Keep the kitchen floor clear of any items that could cause a fall.
  • If a pan catches on fire, cover it with a lid to smother the flames or use a fire extinguisher. Never use flour or water to put out a pan fire.
  • If you get burned, apply cool water to the burn for 3-5 minutes, cover with a clean, dry cloth, and seek medical assistance, if needed.

    Buying Toys

    Going shopping for children’s presents? Keep these tips in mind when choosing a gift:

  • Follow the age guidance and other safety information on the toy packaging, and choose toys that match your child’s interests and abilities.
  • Be sure to include a helmet when gifting a bike or scooter. Helmets should always be worn properly and be sized to fit.
  • Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3.
  • For children under 10, avoid gifting toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • Traveling during the Holidays

    Keep everyone in the car safe during the holidays!

  • Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency preparedness kit with you.
  • Leave early, planning for heavy traffic. Check the weather forecast before traveling.
  • Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up, no matter how long or short the drive is.
  • Children need to be in a proper child restraint device for their age. Ensure that the device is properly installed and the child is harnessed correctly.
  • For infants and children, avoid puffy snow-suits while in the car seat. After they are buckled, place blankets around their legs for warmth.
  • Put your cell phone away. Have a designated texter/caller, if you need to respond to a text/call.
  • If drinking at a holiday party, designate a sober driver to ensure a safe ride home.
  • Creason Schafer, BS, CHES, CPST
    Community Outreach Specialist – Injury Prevention
    Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

    Sharing is caring!