Whether you are hosting or attending a party for New Year’s Eve, the 4th of July or Christmas there are a few simple steps that you can do to keep you, your family, and your friend’s safe during your holiday celebrations.
No need to be a party pooper – but you can be a child proofer: Childproofing and emergencies
Remember not everyone child proofs their home. Watch out for electrical outlets. Ask your host if it would be ok to bring your own “mini” childproofing kit if you will be visiting friends or family out of town. For just a few dollars you can bring along duct tape, large rubber bands and safety covers for electrical outlets as well as door knob covers to keep children from visiting rooms like the bathroom, laundry room or basement without adult supervision.
Poinsettia’s are beautiful, natural décor as are pine cones, acorns, holly and mistletoe, but all of them are a no-no when it comes to small children. If you decide to decorate, then be sure to place them up high in the sky where little hands and mouths can’t explore or eat them.
Post the Poison Control and Pediatrician’s telephone numbers in a prominent place like the refrigerator or on the wall by the phone. Should an emergency arise you have the information immediately available. You may also want to make sure that your post includes your home telephone number and address in case of a need to call 911, but someone who doesn’t live in the home.
Shedding light on keeping the family safe at holiday parties
Watch out for long extension cords inside and outside. If you are hosting make sure to tape them down so that your guests don’t trip over cords. If you are attending a party watch for cords to lights and displays and keep an eye on your little ones to make sure they don’t stick their curious fingers or toys into any surge strips or electrical outlets.
Make sure to clean out the fireplace if you plan on using it or cover it up to keep both your children and those of your visitors out of it. Screen the fireplace in to make sure to keep little hands and stray scraps of paper and ribbon from making their way into the fire.
Don’t burn wrapping paper or ribbons. Not only can they be used again but a flash or chimney fire can occur making your celebration a not so swell-a-bration.
Place candles, scented décor and reeds high out of reach. They look nice and smell pretty, but they aren’t so nice if a child or adult ends up with hot wax or essential oils spilled on them.
Light it up! Sure, holiday lights and candles set the mood, but for guests and infrequent family members finding the bathroom it may make things difficult. Avoid slips ups, bruises and stubbed toys by leaving lights on in rooms so everyone will know where to “go.”
Safety tips for all the little girls and boys: Toys
Follow the recommended ages on toys, sure you may know your own child is advanced for his age, but not every child is. Remember the warning label about parts being a choking hazard is there for a reason, and in some families you need to worry about it being given to younger siblings too.
There is nothing more exciting than watching children enjoy the holidays as they tear into a Christmas or birthday gift. But all those little bits and pieces, plastic ties and locks can pose a choking hazard for the tiny tots. Designate a box or bin and an adult to help with keeping things neat and tidy, but also safe by instituting a “clean up as you go system.”
Tips for keep the family safe: Eat, drink and be “merry”
No matter what the celebration, foods are usually a part of it. If young children will be visiting the home try to avoid foods like popcorn, nuts and grapes, but if you do serve them remember they can be a choking hazard especially for those under the age of 5. Remember the bowl of nuts and the nutcracker? Be sure to put those out of reach.
Utilize smaller appliances or buffet’s to keep the hot foods hot, never leave them on the stove. According to the National Fire Prevention Association food left cooking on the stove is the number one cause of house fires.
Keep the cold foods cold. Serve on ice or refrigerate after being out 2 hours.
Use paper towels or disposable cloths like Lysol or Clorox Wipes for disinfecting and cleaning up. Not only do they kill many germs on contact, but it makes sure the things you just cleaned up don’t end up back on your countertop, sinks or stove when you use it again, like with sponges or washcloths.
There’s no need to “drink it up” when serving alcohol during your celebration. Be sure to have a coffee pot warming and lots of other alternatives. You may even want to consider using a bartender or serving punches with a little more than punch to keep the intake under control.
Use different cups for alcoholic beverages to help you monitor the holiday drinking; you never know when a 3 year old or a 13 year old will pick up the wrong one. Is serving alcohol, make sure that you have plenty of food available, and be ready with a list of taxis, designated drivers or for some overnight guests if necessary. According to the National Safety Council, “more than half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.”
Tips for keeping the family safe: Slip into something more comfortable – slippers
In our home and many others shoes are removed when you enter. Keep a stock of assorted slippers from the $1.00 store nearby to help everyone “slip” into something more comfortable. Your guests will love being able to walk around in warmth and comfort and you simply send them home as a “party favor” when the celebration is over.
Tips for keeping your family safe: Clean up clean up everybody, everywhere
No one wants to stay up after the guests are gone, but take a few minutes to make sure the cups are emptied and recycled or in the sink, trash if picked up from the floor, food is properly stored or disposed of and that all the lights and candles are turned off. Children get up pretty early in the morning and the mess you clean up the night before could save you not only another mess in the morning but save your child from an accident or injury.
There is no need to be a party pooper, but you can ensure that you are the host/hostess with the most-ess with these simple tips to keep your family and guest safe and comfortable during your celebrations.
Professional Party Planning experience
National Safety Council
National Fire Prevention Association
American Academy of Pediatrics