Hazards: How to Avoid Accidents at Home During the Holidays


Christmas decorations can be hazards that turn your holidays into a dream or nightmare. 

Christmas decorations look beautiful in our homes, on the streets, on businesses and at our friends’ houses. However, these decorations can turn unforgettable moments into a nightmare. Candy canes, gingerbread cookies, small balls, chocolates, plants, toys, lights, and gifts are classic holiday items, and if we do not take appropriate precautions, can be harmful to little ones.

Hazards: How to Avoid Accidents at Home During the Holidays Marielena Aguilar Contributor Miami Moms Blog
Christmas decorations are beautiful, but can also be hazardous to little ones

Our children do not distinguish between reality and fantasy. How do children know that some candies are decorative, and others are edible? During their first years, they explore the world through their senses. That is why we often hear the phrase “everything goes in their mouth.”

As a mom and an educational consultant, I would like to share some helpful information about the dangers and precautions that we need to consider during this time of the year to protect the lives of our little ones.

Choking hazards

Toys under 1 ¼ inch are a hazard because they can get stuck in children’s throats. I recommend that you read the manufacturer’s instructions of the toys. Many toys and educational materials such as puzzles, manipulatives, Legos, and clay have a “choking warning hazard.” Small parts are not safe for children under three years, because it puts them in danger of choking. This warning also applies to holiday decorations that are very sparkly or flashy. Some children may want to put things in their mouths, such as candy canes, cookies, and small balls, among others. You may also want to consider some foods such as olives, nuts, hazelnuts, grapes, raisins, etc. Check out some other important tips about toy safety here.

Dangers of poisoning

There are a lot of medicines that look like candy or that may resemble cleaning supplies. For example, beer and Pine-Sol tend to be confused with apple juice. Cleaning products can be mistaken for sports drinks, such as liquid dish soap. Likewise, white sugar and cleaning powders are visually similar. Aerosols can also be confused. For example, children can watch mom using hair care sprays, or even a makeup spray, and at the same time, insecticides also come as aerosols. And shaving cream resembles whipped cream.

Strangulation hazards

Garlands, decorative ribbons, window blind cords, lights, extension cords, long curtains, and long-length ornaments, among others, are also considered choking hazards. Children can, in a matter of seconds, use them inappropriately. They could pretend to get caught, hide, roll themselves up, or even to decorate their necks with lights as necklaces.

Fire hazards

Fireworks, Christmas lights, candles, electric air fresheners, heaters, oven/stoves, and gas cylinders, among other things, are often highly dangerous. I personally met a child who’d placed his hand on the top of the stove and suffered a severe burn. After the accident, he would panic as he approached the kitchen entrance.

According to figures published by the National Fire Prevention Association, between 2012 and 2016, fire departments responded to an average of 170 home fires each year that had been started by Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of 4 deaths, 15 injuries and $12 million in property damage. In addition, approximately 800 fires were started by decorations each year. These fires cause an average of 2 deaths, 34 injuries and $11 million in property damage each year. Among the causes, they determined that the decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or equipment, in two out of five fires (42%). Additionally, more than a five (21% of) house fires started in the kitchen.

Other hazards

The glass ornaments we often use to decorate Christmas trees can easily break. Therefore, it is advisable to place them on the top of the tree, out of the reach of children. An excellent idea is to use family photos and your children’s artwork to decorate the bottom of the tree. Knives, scissors, staples, tacks, and other sharp items are often left unattended, within the reach of children. These could become immediate hazards.

We can certainly childproof our homes. But remember, places such as shopping malls and other businesses, our friends’ homes, and public places, in general, may not be childproofed. Children are very curious and sometimes, we as parents, are easily distracted.

Direct supervision of our children is always recommended. We must prioritize our children’s safety in order to safeguard their lives.

We would love for you to share, in the comments, the preventive measures that you apply in your home so that other moms can also apply them as well.

My wish is that your holidays are peaceful and safe. Enjoy the festivities!

With love and gratitude,