It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or so the song goes. To give the lyric a little street-cred, we asked the trusted StrollerTraffic Expert Panel for tips on what we can all do to get ourselves—and our tots—through the holidays safely, peacefully, joyfully, and in style.
For the MD Moms, our pediatric experts, the holidays are all about safety. “Every year, despite our best efforts, parental vigilence slips, and accidents happen,” says Dr. JJ Levenstein. “I don’t mind repeating the ‘broken record’ if it spares one more child an accident. Here are 10 important things to keep in mind:”
1. Avoid placing menorahs and lit candles on table runners or cloths; little hands can pull them down.
2. Clean out chimneys and make sure flues and ventilation are working before lighting fires. Install a carbon monoxide monitor in your home if you have natural gas in your stove or fireplace, or if you burn fossil fuels in your home.
3. Use only UL-approved extension cords and holiday lights. Don’t Mickey Mouse connections or exceed the capacities recommended by the manufacturer.
4. Place fresh-cut holiday trees in secure buckets of water, and keep the moisture level up to avoid your tree becoming a tinder box. Dispose of dry tree remnants safely—don’t burn them in your fireplace, as the dried needles are incendiary.
5. Make sure smoke alarms are functional and batteries are fresh.
6. Monitor holiday plants like poinsettias and mistletoe for dropped leaves and berries, which can be toxic.
7. Clean floors immediately after parties so that remnants of chokeable snacks (peanuts, popcorn, chips, hard candies) aren’t found and swallowed by small children.
8. Designate a sober “driver,” even for parties given at home—in the event of an accident, illness, or emergency one parent should be able to manage a home or drive safely.
9. When assembling holiday toys, make sure screws, washers, coin batteries and other small parts are cleared from the floor and inaccessible to curious tots.
10. Use the rear burners, if keeping pots of hot liquids (i.e., mulled cider) on the stove; move small children outside the cooking area when fryiing latkes and other holiday treats.