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Wednesday, 14 December 2016 19:47

Give your kids a safe Christmas

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            Christmas holidays “should be memorable for the decorations, special traditions, family gatherings and presents—not because of a child’s injury,” says Kelly Taylor, a Family Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

            “Spending a bit of time ‘safe-proofing’ your home for children can help ensure it is a happy holiday season for everyone.”

            Injuries remain the leading cause of death for children in Canada and a leading cause of

hospitalization. And that risk can increase, warns the health unit, at this time of year when kids’ excitement over gifts and decorations can cloud their sense and judgment.

            Here are their safety tips for Christmas:

  • Select sturdy, well-made toys that are age-appropriate for children. Toys for older children may contain small parts or other hazards that make them unsafe for very young children.
  • Check Government of Canada’s recall and safety alerts database () before purchasing a toy, and follow the age labels, warnings, safety messages and assembly instructions.

• With all gifts, look for hazards like loose parts, broken pieces or sharp edges. Weak or damaged toys should be repaired or thrown out.

  • After the toy is unwrapped, remove and properly dispose of plastic wrap, foam, staples, ties and temporary plastic films.

Make sure your “real tree” is fresh by checking if the needles are hard to pull off—and water it once a day.

• Secure the tree well in a sturdy stand, and keep it away from heat sources like heating vents, radiators, fireplaces and stoves—and away from high traffic areas and doorways.

• Use lights approved by an accredited certification agency like the Canadian Standards Association.

• Use lights only where they’re designated (indoor or outdoor), and replace broken or burned-out bulbs

  • Use soft, unbreakable decorations where possible, and keep sharp, breakable or small ornaments away from young children.
  • Keep burning candles away from trees and decorations, and never leave a lit candle unattended or within reach of children or pets.

Watch that young children do not get into possible hazards like alcohol left on tables or medication in open purses.

  • Watch for possible burn hazards with children around hot drinks.
  • Pay attention when visiting other homes, where unfamiliar surroundings may not be child-proofed.
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