Childproofing Tips for Families During the Holidays
MADISON - Most parents understand the importance of childproofing their homes. Gates on stairs, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and keeping medicines and poisons out of reach are fairly standard in many homes.
In addition to the risks of holiday decorations, younger children can get into trouble if they visit a home during the holidays (or anytime of year) that isn't childproofed.
It is especially likely that a home isn't childproofed if you are visiting grandma and grandpa and they don't usually have children in the house. In addition to not having safety locks on cabinets, gates on stairs, covers on electrical outlets, etc., they may also have prescription medications that aren't in a child resistant container.
Information for Grandparents
Audio: Many things Grandparents used for their own children are no longer safe. Click to play for a brief clip on what you need to know to keep your grandkids safe when visiting.
Pay Attention to These Potential Hazards
Things to be especially watchful for, and which you may want to ask about, include:
- Do they have a pool? Does it have a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate? Can the children get to the area where the pool is located?
- Are there guns in the house? Are they stored unloaded in a locked box with the bullets locked separately?
- Are there small objects, such as hard candy or nuts in candy dishes, where younger children can get them?
- Are there gates on the stairs?
- Are medications, poisons and household cleaners out of reach?
- Do they have a pet that may harm the children, such as a dog who is nervous around small children?
- If your child has food allergies, will they be serving that food?
You may think that you will just watch your child more closely, even if the house isn't childproofed, but this is hard if there are a lot of family members and friends present and the kids are all playing together.
If there are going to be a lot of younger children present at a holiday gathering, you might consider volunteering to go over before hand and childproof the house for them.
These flat-shaped, coin-like batteries are now commonly used in many electronics including decorations and toys. They may, if swallowed, stick in the throat or stomach, causing serious burns as the chemical leaks out. Also, children may insert these small objects into their ears or nose.
Some of the common holiday plants, such as the poinsettia and mistletoe have often been considered very poisonous, even life-threatening. Although caution should be exercised, ingestion of these plants is not fatal. If you suspect you child has ingested something poisonous, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Keep this number by every phone in the home.
Parents, grandparents and babysitters should be extra cautious during the holidays. Visitors often leave medicines on a nightstand or in the bathroom, making them easily accessible to children. Medications given to seniors often do not have child-resistant closures, allowing children to open them with very little difficulty. Remember that the homes of friends and relatives may not be poison-proof, particularly if children do not usually live there.
Date Published: 12/01/2010