Teach children about holiday safety risks

Child helping with Christmas decorations

Hot ovens, boiling water, fires burning in the hearth. They’re all holiday traditions. But do your children know how dangerous they can be?

Before the holiday bustle begins, sit them down and talk about staying safe during the holidays—around hot stoves, flickering fireplaces, and electric lights and decorations.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that deaths from fires caused by children spike during the winter, and twice as many kids die or are injured by fires during the holidays than at any other time of the year.

Some cautions:

  • Electrical accidents involving children are far more likely to happen when no adult is supervising the kids.
  • The holidays come with safety risks that might not be present during other times of the year: more electrical cords, extension cords in high-traffic areas, electric lights on the tree, burning candles, fires in the hearth.
  • Keep children away from cords and decorations to prevent shocks and burns. Avoid decorating the bottom limbs of the tree, where children can easily reach.
  • Don’t leave children alone with a lighted fireplace, candles or an operating space heater.
  • Every time you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove, even if you’re not finished cooking. Move hot pots to back burners.
  • Teach your children that hot things can burn them. When they’re old enough, teach them how to cook and to use the stove safely.
  • Choose battery-powered toys instead of electric versions for children younger than 10.
  • Buy electrical toys only if they bear a safety label from UL or another credible testing agency.
  • If you bring your children to visit someone else’s home, do a visual sweep for potential hazards, like exposed electrical outlets and cords or lighted candles.