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Holiday Safety Guidelines for Toddlers: Keeping Your Toddler Injury Free

It’s the most wonderful time of year. We are getting ready to spend more time with our children. Schools are closed, and family and friends are getting together. The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and creating lasting memories with loved ones. However, amidst the festivities, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety of our little ones, especially curious toddlers who may be more vulnerable to potential hazards. In this blog post, we’ll explore safety guidelines for toddlers so you can have a joyful and accident-free season with your toddler.

Researchers found that in order to keep children safe, parents utilize various strategies. These include (1) environmental modifications to prevent access to hazards, (2) parent-based strategies involving the monitoring of children and changing our behaviors to decrease child injury risk, and (3) child-based strategies that focus on teaching about safety and the transfer of risk management to the child. Let’s explore these safety guidelines for toddlers in depth.

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Safety Guidelines for Toddlers

  1. Put safety plugs in visible electric outlets and all electric outlets that are on the child’s level.
  2. Avoid drinking hot beverages while your child is in your lap.
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  1. Avoid carrying hot food in your child’s vicinity.
  2. Turn the pot handles to the back of the stove while cooking.
  3. Avoid holding your child while cooking.
  4. Keep sharp objects out of your child’s reach.
  5. Do not leave your child with decorative objects that are easy to break.
  6. Avoid having your child carry breakable objects.
  7. Keep the garbage can out of your child’s reach.
  8. Use safety straps on all child equipment, such as high chairs.
  9. Have safety gates on the stairs.
  10. Keep the stairs clear of toys, shoes, loose carpeting, and other objects.
  11. Examine the room to ensure no objects can fall on your child.
  12. Be aware of tablecloths that can pulled down. 
  13. Do not allow your child on the countertop.
  14. Keep all alcoholic beverages away from children. 
  15. Empty all water containers immediately after use.
  16. Avoid leaving your child alone in the bath.
  17. Avoid allowing your child to get in and out of the bath without you present.
  18. Keep the bathroom door closed.
  19. Keep toilet lids closed. 
  20. Ensure your child is seated when eating or drinking from a bottle. 
  21. Avoid having your child play with toys that have small objects that can easily fit into their mouth.
  22. Avoid small candy, seeds, whole grapes, and nuts for children. Ensure large portions of meat or cheese are cut into bite-size pieces. 

Top Food Hazards for Children Under 4

  • Nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Watermelon with seeds
  • Cherries with pits
  • Raw carrots, peas, and celery
  • Popcorn
  • Hard candy
  • Raw apples and pears

  1. Keep all plastic bags out of reach.
  2. Keep cords for window blinds out of reach.
  3. Store medications out of reach.
  4. Store cleaning solutions out of reach.
  5. Ensure no plants that are poisonous when eaten are in the house. 
  6. Move chairs, cribs, beds, and other furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing onto window sills.
  7. Remove your child’s bib before they go to sleep.
  8. Ensure your Christmas tree is sturdy so it cannot tip over.
  9. Use flameless candles.
  10. Use non-breakable ornaments.
  11. Replace ornament hooks with string, ribbon, or florist wire.
  12. Avoid using tinsel, as it can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed. 
  13. Keep wires and plugs organized and out of your child’s reach.

List adapted from Barbara A. Morrongiello, Sophie Kiriakou, Mothers’ Home-Safety Practices for Preventing Six Types of Childhood Injuries: What Do They Do, and Why?, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Volume 29, Issue 4, June 2004, Pages 285–297

Smart Home Safety for Toddlers

Let’s now look at the safety in a smart home. Many homes feature smart equipment that requires us as, parents, to think differently when focusing on safety. Kaiwen Sun et al. (2021) examined measures parents with smart homes used to keep their children safe. 

Parents informed researchers that it is critical to:

  1. Be selective about what you give your child access to. For example, do not register your child’s voice on a smart speaker.
  2. Be selective about telling your child how controls work. One parent in the study stated

“If [the kid] knew he could control [the thermostats] . . . there’s no way to prevent him from doing it. So I just haven’t told him about that stuff . . . and [other] kinds of things that I wouldn’t want him to be able to play with . . .like the garage door [and other] security related items.”

3. Use built-in parental controls that come with the devices. 

4. Teach rules and boundaries about appropriate use.

5. Teach rules that are in line with common home safety rules. One parent stated

“For the video doorbell, unless they know the person we tell them not to talk to anyone. If they don’t know the person, then either come get me or my wife or my mom. But we tell them not to talk to strangers [through the video doorbell].” 

6. Engage in digital safety conversations early to develop safe digital habits.

As parents and caregivers, it’s our responsibility to ensure a safe holiday season for our toddlers. By following these holiday safety guidelines for toddlers, you can create a secure environment and enjoy the festivities with peace of mind. Remember, the key is to be vigilant and proactive and take necessary precautions to protect your little ones. Wishing you and your family a joyful and safe holiday season!


References

Morrongiello, B. A., Ondejko, L., & Littlejohn, A. (2004). Understanding toddlers’ in-home injuries: II. Examining parental strategies, and their efficacy, for managing child injury risk. Journal of pediatric psychology29(6), 433-446.

Morrongiello, B. A., & Kiriakou, S. (2004). Mothers’ home-safety practices for preventing six types of childhood injuries: what do they do, and why?. Journal of pediatric psychology29(4), 285-297.

Sun, K., Zou, Y., Radesky, J., Brooks, C., & Schaub, F. (2021). Child safety in the smart home: parents’ perceptions, needs, and mitigation strategies. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction5(CSCW2), 1-41.


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5 thoughts on “Holiday Safety Guidelines for Toddlers: Keeping Your Toddler Injury Free”

  1. Thank you for sharing this important and timely article on safety guidelines. It’s so easy to get distracted especially with a lot of people around but being intentional and mindful can prevent accidents and tragedies from happening.

  2. This is such great information for anyone who will have toddler around for the holidays. Thanks so much for sharing all this important info!

  3. I love these important tips! And such good points about starting conversations about digital safety early and being careful about voice controls. I’ll definitely keep those in mind when I have kids.

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