Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But the gatherings could put children and families at a greater risk for preventable injury and fire. Here are some holiday season safety tips.

General safety

  • Make sure guests are aware of children’s abilities – they may not have seen them lately. For example, the baby maybe pulling up or starting to walk and can reach things that were previously out of reach.
  • Avoid using candles with flames. Keep matches and lighters up high or locked up.
  • Make sure your smoke detector is working – have a carbon monoxide detector if you have gas appliances.
  • Guests should secure all their medications – no purses on the floor, etc.

Cooking safety

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove top.
  • Cook with handles turned inward.
  • Keep sharp kitchen tools out of reach.
  • Keep children away from the stove, preferably out of the kitchen or in a highchair or behind a gate.
  • Stay home when cooking with the oven.

Safe home decorations

  • Use flame resistant or retardant decorations. 
  • Take care lights are used properly – indoor for indoor.
  • Turn lights out when going to bed. 
  • Keep candles away from decorations and curtains. If you’re using candles with flames extinguish them when you leave the room. 

Safe holiday entertaining

  • Keep hot food in the center of the table, and cover or place lids on hot drinks.
  • Be mindful of your guests’ allergies or health issues.
  • Share your home’s escape plan with your guests.
  • Assign someone to watch the small children during gatherings or celebrations.

Most of all, remember to have a wonderful time with family and friends!


Sally Wilson, RN, BSN, is the Education, Prevention, and Outreach Coordinator for the Division of Trauma and Burns at Children’s National Health System and Safe Kids Worldwide. She specializes in pedestrian safety, window fall prevention and seasonal safety issues.

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