Promoting Excellence in Maryland's Trauma Care

A collaborative statewide approach to address issues
related to all aspects of trauma care delivery

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

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