6 Holiday Safety Tips to Keep Everyone Feeling Merry and Bright

General Steward Health Care

Is it truly the most wonderful time of the year? The holidays should be a time for merry celebrations with family and friends, much-needed downtime and relaxing with loved ones. More typically, however, the holidays are intermingled with stress, family meltdowns (and not just the kids), and potentially dangerous situations particularly for the youngest members of our families. Derek Trapasso, MD, Medical Director, MassGeneral Hospital for Children at Norwood Hospital, suggests following these six simple tips to keep everyone feeling merry and bright this holiday season!

  1. Keep Fun Times from Becoming Stress Times: It’s no wonder kids get stressed too during this time of year. Later bedtimes, more sugary snacks, and stimulation in the form of new toys and games can disrupt routines and overall health. Check-in with your kids to make sure they are staying hydrated and making healthy food choices, regularly exercising and taking necessary family downtime.


  1. Decorations Not Disasters: Survey your environment. While holiday decorations are festive and beautiful, they often pose choking and strangulation hazards for our littlest ones. Check for small toy parts, broken ornaments, including glass, pieces of torn wrapping paper, and even low-hanging strands of lights.


  1. The Joy of Toys: Toy safety has come a long way, and consumer watchdog lists make it easy to find out what toys are on the naughty list this year. A good rule of thumb is to look at each toy and check for choking, ingestion, or projectile hazards and are age-appropriate. If something seems loose or poorly made, investigate the latest toy recalls at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (cpsc.gov) for the most recent updates. Also, don’t forget the older kids. Check their new electronic devices for any potential security and privacy concerns.


  1. Fun with Food: Holidays can bring chaos, and it may be difficult keeping track of what kids are snatching from snack trays or sharing. For children with allergies, be extra vigilant about foods, particularly appetizers that can be easily grabbed from a tabletop when you aren’t looking. Also, drinks that contain alcohol can look child-friendly, like spiked eggnog or punch, and a small amount can have a significant impact on a little body.


  1. Keep Flu and Bugs Away: Typically, and inconveniently, the holidays coincide with flu season. A month of friends and family celebrations can put everyone at risk of catching whatever is “going around” or, worse, the flu. Remind your kids and everyone in your home to wash their hands. Don’t force your kids to hug or kiss every visitor that walks in the door. They will be thanking you, and you’ll be minimizing the chance of a winter bug going around your house.


  1. Take Time for Parent Time: Being frazzled seems almost an accepted part of the holidays. But for parents, setting a goal of maintaining an aura of calm and confidence is not only good for you but good for your kids. Make sure to take time for yourself and accept that not everything will be perfect. Downtime allows everyone to stay refreshed, vigilant, and, above all, enjoy each other during this holiday season.

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