Christmas time is a busy one for families, and as a result babies and children are often more susceptible to injuries at this time of year. However, parents can take simple steps to ensure the safety of their children to avoid preventable and often highly distressing accidents. As CEO of Kidsafe WA Sue Wicks says: “Christmas can be a fabulous time for children and families but it can also be quickly ruined if simple safety measures are not put in place in the beginning.”
The Christmas tree is often a focal point of decorations. Unfortunately it can also prove a magnet for crawling babies or very young toddlers. To keep your child a safe distance from the tree, Wicks has this practical advice: “The simplest way to keep babies and toddlers away from Christmas trees and their decorations is to put the tree inside a playpen so that it is separated from the rest of the room and prevents access by crawlers and toddlers.”
When it comes to decorating your Christmas tree it is wise to be cautious about the decorations you choose, particularly the ones that may be within reach of curious hands. If you have glass baubles consider leaving them packed away for a few more years, or hang them high up on the tree out of reach. When hanging your decorations, use a clothes peg to secure them on the branches more firmly.
Wicks warns: “The primary risks associated with Christmas decorations for very young children are choking, when small parts are put in the mouth, and cutting or piercing injuries where items are either sharp or shatter.” Consequently it is vital you choose your decorations with great care in the early years. If possible, avoid using objects like this altogether unless you know your child will be unable to reach them.
Babies and small children are naturally drawn to highly colourful and beautifully decorated Christmas objects. Their natural instinct is usually to place these objects in their mouths. Decorations that are lower down the tree therefore should follow the guidelines recommended by Kidsafe: – Choose items that do not fit inside a 35mm film canister (ie no longer a choking hazard) and do not break or shatter easily.
Lights and cables are often in plentiful use over the Christmas period. To ensure your child is kept safe you should make sure all connections are working well and try to keep plugs and sockets well out of reach. If you are using candles, you should supervise your child at all times when they are lit and immediately extinguish them when you have finished using them, or are leaving the room.
There are far stricter regulations regarding toy safety but you should check the guidelines when choosing gifts for your child to ensure your child falls within the recommended age brackets. Otherwise they can end up having toys with small parts that are both unsuitable and potentially dangerous for them at that particular age group.
At this busy time of year all these objects can prove hazardous for young children. At a time where the happiness of our children is paramount it is also important to take the time to ensure your child’s safety.