Christmas is a time when your home is likely to be full of people and it is in the excitement of the season that accidents can easily happen. But one of the good things about Christmas is that there are typically more people around to supervise the children and, with a little more care and forward planning, most accidents could be avoided.
Follow the 12 safety tips to help prevent your festivities being cut short by a trip to casualty:
• Make sure you buy children’s gifts for the correct age group and from reputable sources that comply with standards (e.g. The Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011)
• Remember to buy batteries for toys that need them – that way you won’t be tempted to remove batteries from smoke alarms
• Look out for small items that could pose a choking hazard to young children, including parts that have fallen off toys or from Christmas trees, button batteries and burst balloons
• Keep decorations and cards away from fires and other heat sources such as light fittings. Don’t leave burning candles unattended, make sure you put them out before going to bed and do not put candles on Christmas trees
• If you have old Christmas lights, seriously consider buying new ones, which will meet much higher safety standards, keep the lights switched off until the Christmas tree is decorated, don’t let children play with lights (some have swallowed the bulbs), and remember to switch off the lights when going out of the house or going to bed
• Remember, Christmas novelties are not toys, even if they resemble them, and they do not have to comply with toy safety regulations. Give careful thought to where you display them, for example, place them high up on Christmas trees where they are out of the reach of young hands
• Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid hot fat, boiling water and sharp knife accidents that come from rushing, and keep anyone not helping with dinner out of the kitchen. Wipe up any spills quickly
• Have scissors handy to open packaging, so you’re not tempted to use a knife, and have screwdrivers at the ready to assemble toys
• Beware of trailing cables and wires in the rush to connect new gadgets and appliances, and always read instructions
• Falls are the most common accidents so try to keep clutter to a minimum. Make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles, especially if you have guests
• Plan New Year fireworks parties well in advance and follow the Firework Safety Code
• Do not drink and drive, and plan long journeys so you won’t be driving tired.