Friday, December 11, 2009

Seasonal Safety; Decorating Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

If you decorate a tree, Safe Kids USA and the United States Fire Administration recommend these precautions:

Never leave a lighted Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.

Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times. Do not put the tree within three feet of a fireplace, space heater, radiator or heat vent.

Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them. Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level, and keep lights out of reach.

Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.

Do not put candles on a tree or a natural wreath, or near curtains or drapes, and keep matches and lighters locked out of reach of children.

Battery-operated flameless candles are an alternative that does not have a fire risk. Decorative lighting should be labeled with the seal of an independent testing lab and should only be used outdoors if it’s labeled for outdoor use.

Safe Kids USA also offers these tips to prevent poisoning:

Keep alcohol (including baking extracts) out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.

Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach. Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.

Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach it.

In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Hotline at 800-222-1222 to be routed to your local poison control center.

For in-depth fire safety information, visit the USFA’s fire safety Web site at

About the United States Fire Administration

As an entity of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, the mission of the USFA is to provide national leadership to foster a solid foundation for our fire and emergency services stakeholders in prevention, preparedness, and response.

Safe Kids Western Mass

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Choose safe toys.

 Ensure that children play with age-appropriate toys, as indicated by safety labels.

Consider the child's interests and skill level, and look for quality design and construction.

Consider purchasing a small parts tester to determine whether or not small toys and objects in your home may present a choking hazard to young children.

Inspect all toys regularly for potential hazards.

Check regularly for damage that could create small pieces that are choking hazards.

Make any necessary repairs immediately, or discard damaged toys out of children's reach.

Watch for toys that can become hazards.

Young children should never play with toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches, which can accidentally strangle them.

Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Children under age 8 should not use toys
with electrical plugs or batteries.

Don't let children under age 8 blow up balloons. Use Mylar balloons instead of latex balloons. If you must use latex balloons, store them out of reach of children, and deflate and discard balloons and balloon pieces of use.

Ensure that toys are used in a safe environment.

Riding toys should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools. Riding toy related deaths can occur when a child falls from a toy or rides a toy into a body of water.

Always supervise children at play. Play is even more valuable when adults become involved and interact with children rather than supervising from distance.

Make sure toys are stored safely.

Teach children to put toys away after playing. Ensure that toys intended for younger children are stored separately from those for older children.

Make sure toy chests have no lids or have safety hinges.

Check the Web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ( regularly to obtain information on recent toy recalls.

Return warranty and product registration forms for new toy purchases to the manufacturers to ensure that you will be notified of any recalls

Safe Kids during the Holiday Season

Seasonal Safety

Top 5 Tips for Safe Holiday Toy Shopping

Each year, more than 3 billion toys and games are sold in the United States, with 50 percent of these sales occurring between the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas. Learn how to shop safe this holiday season by following these top 5 tips:

• Before shopping for toys, consider the child's age, interest and skill level. A fun, but inappropriate toy for a particular child can be dangerous.

• Keep toys with small parts away from children under age 3. They can choke on small toys and toy parts.

• Shopping at a second hand shop this holiday season? Check to make sure kids' products and toys are safe and haven't been recalled.

• Bikes or scooters make great holiday gifts. But remember that a helmet is a necessity, not an accessory when it comes to wheeled sports.

• Consider alternatives to putting children in shopping carts including strollers and carts that have plastic mini-cars or trucks attached to the front or back. If you must use a cart, make sure your child stays seated and is secured by a seat belt.

Learn more about toy safety at Safe Kids Western Massachusetts