- Your children may be at a greater risk of abduction during the holidays. Families are generally in a rush with much to do. Holidays can easily be stressful times that could wreak havoc on quality child supervision. If possible, shop without the children. Bright flashing lights, sales banners, and long 'to do' lists create distractions. A predator may be much more effective in luring children amidst the chaos.
- Prepare a Child Id Kit, today. While ID kits are a critical tool in expediting a search for a missing child, they also give you the perfect opportunity to discuss safety tips and safe behavior with your kids.
- There is safety in numbers. Make sure that your children are always supervised and accompanied by a parent or other trusted adult, whenever venturing out in public during the especially congested holiday season. Older children (teens) should at a minimum be accompanied by a couple of friends when out and about. Both adults and children who are alone in malls, parking lots, public restrooms, playgrounds, etc. are especially vulnerable to theft, abduction, or other harm.
- Your home is at greater risk of fire during the holidays. Make sure that you have working fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Change your batteries twice a year and take just one minute a week to test each alarm. Early warning is critical to survival. Make sure that all heating systems in your home are in good working order. Chimneys and space heater ventilation should be clear, furnace filters cleaned, etc.
- Do you have a fire escape plan? Prepare your family for fire emergencies by creating and practicing a fire escape plan. This is especially critical when bedrooms are not on the first floor and when you live in a multi story building. Determine a meeting spot where your family will gather to make sure all are safe. Fire extinguishers may also be helpful for smaller contained fires. Make sure that you know what type of fire you can use your extinguisher on, that it has not expired, and make sure that you know how to use it. Be prepared to pull the pin, aim at the bottom of the fire, squeeze the lever and spray from side to side.
- Holiday decorations also create several fire hazards. Keep all heat sources at least 3 to 5 feet away from flammable materials. Real trees can be too dry and create a fire hazard. Choose artificial trees that are fire retardant. Check lighting for shorts or other damage. Candles should be used sparingly under complete supervision. Never leave candles burning or indoor lighting on if you are sleeping or away from home.
- Make sure that the gifts under the tree are not injuries waiting to happen. Many toys are on the market that are clearly regarded as 'unsafe' while others may not appear to be dangerous but may not be a safe choice for your child. You can check the U.S. You should also look at any toy and ask yourself, could any part of this toy either suffocate, choke or strangle my child? Could some part of it poke my kid's eyes out? Is any part of this toy toxic in case my kid wants to put this in his/her mouth? You are the best judge of what crazy things your child will do with any given toy. Choose wisely.
- Children are more likely to swallow poisonous materials at home in the evening when they are not as closely supervised. The stress and events of the holidays make it even more difficult to monitor children. Realizing this risk exposure will hopefully be enough to help parents realize that nothing on your 'to do' list is more important than keeping your kids out of harm's way. Intense supervision is the best defense. Just in case, make sure that you have the number of your local poison control center posted on every phone.
- Just as with poisonings, children are more likely to be injured by a firearm when supervision is compromised. If you have a firearm in your home, make sure that your children can not access it. Don't be fooled, most children know where guns in the home are stored. Unloaded firearms are best.
- As you travel about throughout the holidays, make sure your passengers know the 'Rules of the Ride.' If anyone disturbs the driver, or engages in disruptive behavior, you need to stop the car and demand compliance. It only takes one distraction to cause an accident.
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