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How to enjoy a safe and festive holiday season

Family bundled up walking through the snow

As the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! You’re getting ready for holiday celebrations, decking the halls of your home with festive décor and preparing for the excited chatter of children opening gifts. Below, we’ve outlined safety tips in several areas, so you can ensure your memories of this holiday season are happy ones. 

Gift giving 

When giving gifts to little ones, check the age range is appropriate for the recipient. Make sure small pieces won’t pose a choking hazard (a good rule of thumb is to avoid any pieces that would fit into a toilet paper roll). Button batteries should also be avoided in toys for smaller children as they can be ingested and lead to severe health issues.  

If gifting a bike, scooter or skateboard, consider gifting a new helmet as well! This will encourage the child to be safe while enjoying their new toy.  

Food preparation 

Prevent burns from hot food or liquid by using the back stove burners and turning pot handles away from the edges so little hands can’t reach. Are your children old enough to help in the kitchen? Engage them by teaching them how to prepare food safely! Explain they should never leave the kitchen when using the stove or oven and show them how to use potholders when handling hot foods. 

While we know kitchen space is valuable during the holidays, your oven door is not as strong as you think, and using an open oven door to hold items is not recommended. Place all items on a countertop, out of reach of young children.  

Holiday décor 

While you’re strategically spacing your Christmas tree ornaments, it’s important to keep in mind that anything breakable or with a metal hook should be toward the top of the tree. Opting for a real tree this year? Be sure to water it regularly, so the needles don’t dry out and pose a fire hazard. When donning your tree with lights, keep an eye out for exposed/frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.  

If you’re getting cozy by candlelight, move all open flames at least 12 inches from anything that can burn, and extinguish flames when you leave the room. Also place all lighters in a safe place, out of reach of children.  


Before you hit the road, double check your car seats are appropriately installed. If you’d like someone to check your car seat, visit one of Children’s Mercy’s Buckle Up Clinics. If your child has outgrown their car seat, they are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. All children should ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old.  

If you’re traveling in cold states, pack extra blankets and food in your car in case of a weather emergency, and make sure your phone is fully charged. 

By keeping safety top-of-mind, we can all make sure the season stays festive and safe this year.