Buying presents for the kids, traveling around town to see the holiday lights, flying to see Grandma and Grandpa, decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, shoveling the sidewalks…all things we do during the holiday season and all things that should make us think about how to be safe while doing it.
Are you giving a gift of a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, Ripstik??? If so, a helmet should definitely be included. For younger kids just learning these skills you should also consider elbow and knee pads as gravity will win more often than not. You should always supervise kids when they are learning a new skill…have you tried to ride a Ripstik? It’s not easy and would require a trip to the emergency room for me!
Anytime you are driving, even short distances, everyone should be properly buckled up. Most crashes happen close to home, so “we’re not going far” is no excuse. Parents and caregivers need to model good behavior as studies have shown that even if kids are buckled in a car seat in the back seat of the car, if the driver doesn’t buckle up, the kids won’t buckle up when they become drivers. With all the technological advances in cars and car seats over the last few years you would think you need a degree in engineering to install the car seat. Don’t feel bad. Ask for help. There are over 38,000 certified child passenger safety technicians around the country to help you figure it all out. Put multiple kids in one car and it becomes a giant puzzle to get everything to fit correctly. Check https://sklarimer.org/car-seat-resources/ for a list of inspection stations in Larimer and Weld Counties. Make sure to give yourself a week or so when calling to make an appointment.
If you’re flying off to warmer weather to visit family and friends, a car seat is a must. You need it to get to the airport. You know how to use your seat. Don’t chance it on the other end with a rental seat that you’re not sure is clean or safe or borrowing a family member’s seat you are not familiar with. Take your own. The FAA recommends all children ride in an appropriate restraint on an airplane because you never know when you’ll encounter turbulence. But, we know money is a factor. Children under the age of 2 can ride on the lap of a parent/caregiver. Have the car seat gate-checked…NEVER check it with your luggage. Have you seen them handle the luggage!?!? Yikes! Also be aware of the child passenger safety laws in the different states. Many states are now enacting a rear-facing until the age of 2 law. Booster seat laws also vary among states.
Decorating Christmas trees, lighting the menorah, putting out poinsettias all pose safety risks for kids. Decorate with the children in mind…get on their level and see what is interesting to them. Put ornaments up higher on the tree…sure the bottom half of the tree might be naked, but kids won’t try to eat the ornaments or break something valuable. Don’t use table cloths as they are a way for children to try to climb the table. Don’t leave candles unattended. Have you heard the saying “a moth to a flame”…same goes for kids. Some holiday plants are poisonous, like poinsettias, so if you’re going to have them in your home, put them up out of reach. Mistletoe is also poisonous to kids and pets.
Shoveling is strenuous on the body. Take frequent breaks, dress for the weather, hydrate, and share the joy with your neighbor kids by hiring them to do it. North-facing houses are especially difficult because they do not get the sunlight to help the snow and ice evaporate. Stay on top of the shoveling and watch for ice build up. Use ice melt that won’t destroy your sidewalks and driveway.
Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the holiday season!