Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips

Decorating for the holiday, visiting family, opening gifts, and being out and about for holiday activities are fun and exciting times. But they can also pose new safety hazards that are often overlooked. Being knowledgeable about these risks can help keep your child safe and you at ease during this holiday season.

Emily Blewett, RN, BSN, Certified MOC Baby & Toddler Consultant, NICU Nurse, Certified CPR Instructor and Certified Lactation Counselor has put together a must-have guide for holiday safety, including things to look out for and first aid tips in case an accident does happen!

Why is CPR most often needed on children?

  • Poisoning
  • Choking
  • Injury
  • Drowning


  • With the holidays come gatherings, which can involve alcohol. Be sure alcohol is out of reach of children and that leftover drinks are cleaned up quickly.
  • Holiday decorations that are toxic if ingested for children include:
    • Mistletoe, holly berries, poinsettias, snow sprays, and bubble lights.
  • When family and friend’s come to visit, put Grandmas, Aunts and friends purses up on the counter and out of reach for the child. Many women keep medicine, vitamins and other items that can be a poisoning and choking hazard to your child.
  • Small batteries, like button batteries, that are put in decorations or come with new toys pose a poisoning and choking hazard to children.
    • If your child swallows a battery, call 911 immediately.

Always call the Poison Control Center immediately if you think your child has swallowed a poisonous or other substance, such as medicine, that they should not have had. Do not try to give anything by mouth or try to induce vomiting. Do not delay calling Poison Control or 911.


  • Choking hazards for holiday decorations include, but are not limited to:
    • Tinsels, bells, tiny décor that is put in a bowel of pinecones, potpourri and small ornaments used to decorate a wreath or Christmas tree.
  • With Christmas comes many new toys. Toys have age guidelines that take into account possible choking hazards for children. Don’t let your child play with toys that aren’t appropriate for their age.
  • Families with children of multiple ages need to be careful of older siblings' new toys and keep them in a designated area that the younger children don’t have access to.
    • Many choking incidents are caused when an older sibling gives a toy with a small part or big piece of food to a younger sibling.
  • With holiday gatherings comes lots of food! Watch out for their little hands reaching into bowls of nuts and candies. Children under age 5 are at greatest risk of choking.
  • Common choking hazards:
    • Popcorn, nuts, hard or sticky candy, marshmallows, chunks of raw vegetables, whole grapes, gum and cubed pieces of meat or cheese.


  • Make sure your Christmas tree is stable and secured to the wall. Since the tree poses as a risk for injury and choking (certain decorations on tree), put a baby gate around the tree for younger children.
  • If a child receives a bike, scooter, roller skates, or other similar items for outside use, the child needs to always be wearing a helmet and have it secured on properly.
  • Avoid using stocking hanger weights because children can easily pull them down, which can cause a head injury.
  • To keep our children safe, we must always correctly have them buckled into their car seat even if going down the street in a neighborhood or from one store to the next store in a shopping center.
    • A small impact can kill a child. Sadly, we see this many times in the ER.
    • At any age, your child needs to always be secured into the appropriate car seat or buckled in correctly if in the car.
  • The risk of car accidents increase during the holiday season. With many Christmas and holiday parties and gatherings, there needs to be a designated driver.


  • With the holidays come traveling and staying at friends or family member’s homes who could have a pool, pond, lake or any water source in their backyard. There needs to be safety measures in place to avoid children having access to the backyard to the possible hazards. Always supervise your child in the backyard.
    • The Door Monkey is a great additional measure to use to keep the toddler locked in a childproofed room at night to prevent them from having access to household dangers when everyone is sleeping.
  • Drowning doesn’t happen only in the summer at the pool or the lake. Children are at risk for drowning all year round, even in something with only a few inches of water.
    • “Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in the home for children 1-4 years old.” –
    • Never leave your child unattended in the bath tub, even to run to get the door bell, your phone, or a towel from the dryer. Adult supervision in the bath tub is always required to keep the child safe.

First Aid for the Holidays


Common causes for burns include:

  • Candles (keep out of reach of children)
  • Cooking (cautious of hands touching oven, stove, or hot pots/pans on counter)
  • Fireplace (accidentally fall or touch).
    • We recommend putting a gate around the fireplace to keep the child safe.

If someone does get a minor burn, the only thing you should put on a burn is cool water and clean, non-stick dressing.

We do not put any ointments on the burn, even if you have an ointment specifically for burns, unless directed by a healthcare provider to do so.

Nose Bleeds

With dry air during the winter, nose bleeds can be common for children 3-10 years old.

If your child has a nose bleed then have the child sit down and lean forward. Pinch the soft part of the child’s nose with gauze or a clean dressing. Put constant, firm pressure on the nostrils for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. Do not have the child lean backwards as this will cause blood to down the back the throat, which can cause gagging or vomiting.

Please seek medical attention for any serious injury.

Who should learn CPR, Choking and First Aid Skills?

  • Anyone who is caring for your child should know how to perform these lifesaving actions, which includes nannies, grandparents, babysitters, or older siblings.
    • “A recent study tested 6th graders and their ability to perform Hands-Only CPR. It showed this is a viable group to learn CPR. The American Heart Association is leading the charge to make CPR training a high school graduation requirement in 34 states – and counting!” -AHA
  • The American Heart Association recommends that you take a CPR and Choking Refresher Course at least every 12 months. It is not a one and done deal.
  • There is now a simple, easy way to refresh these lifesaving skills in the comfort of your own home and with people who care for your child through the Moms on Call Infant + Child CPR, Choking and First Aid Online Courses. You will have a lifetime access to these online safety courses.
    • Additionally, you will receive access to printable guides as a refresher or to include in your Babysitter Binder.
    • Be sure to check out our recent blog, "The Ultimate Guide for Having a Babysitter".
      • Which includes tips and a Babysitter Binder template to keep important information to provide the babysitter with, to make sure your family is prepared when leaving your little one(s).
      • When you are prepared, you will have peace of mind!


What is CPR | American Heart Association CPR & First Aid

12 tips child holiday safety - Mayo Clinic Health System

History of CPR | American Heart Association CPR & First Aid

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