The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful—particularly when it comes to keeping your kids safe through parties, presents, travel, and meals. Follow these tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to protect your little ones this holiday season. For more information, visit holidaysafety.org.
About 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home when adult supervision is present, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. So make sure those new toys don’t pose a danger.
- Electric-powered toys and other devices can be extremely hazardous if improperly used or used without proper supervision.
- An adult should supervise the use of any electrical product. Consider both the maturity of the child and the nature of the toy when deciding how much supervision is required.
- Do not buy an electrical toy, or any toy, for a child too young to use it safely. Always check the age recommendation on the package, and remember that this is a minimum age recommendation. You should still take into account your child’s capabilities.
- Never give any child under 10 years old a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, choose toys that are battery-operated.
- Make sure all electrical toys bear a fire safety label from an independent testing laboratory, such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.).
- Inspect all electrical toys periodically. Repair, replace, or discard deteriorating toys.
- Ban play with electrical toys near water, and make sure they understand that water and electricity don’t mix.
- All electrical toys should be put away immediately after use in a dry storage area out of the reach of younger children.
Christmas, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day lead the year for candle fires, according to ESFI. Mind your festive decorations for safety hazards:
- Read manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels for any decoration that will be used around young children, like electronic trains or animatronic dolls.
- Keep candles, matches, and lighters out of reach, and never leave children unsupervised when candles are lit.
- Instead of traditional candles, try using battery-operated candles.
- Cover any unused outlets on extension cords with plastic caps or electrical tape to prevent children from coming in contact with a live circuit.
- Place electrical cords out of the reach of small children.
- Never allow children to play with lights, electrical decorations, or cords.
In 2009, ranges and ovens were involved in an estimated 17,300 thermal burn injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Of these, 36 percent of the victims were younger than 5. Keep little kitchen helpers in check:
- Never leave the kitchen when something’s cooking—a fire or accident can happen in an instant.
- Keep children at least three feet away from all cooking appliances.
- Never hold a child while cooking or when removing hot food from the microwave, oven, or stove.
- Turn pot handles in, away from reaching hands.
- Use the back burners on the cooktop whenever possible.
- Hot tap water scalds can be prevented by lowering the setting on water heater thermostats to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below and by installing anti-scald devices in water faucets.
- Once your holiday meal is ready, check that the stove and oven are turned off and that other kitchen appliances are unplugged and out of reach.