girl and mother by Christmas tree

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and festivities with gifts, food, and decorations. While these celebrations are meant to be spent having fun and enjoying the company of your loved ones, be aware of the precautions you can take to ensure your children have a safe and enjoyable season. Little ones caught up in the holiday excitement may be prone to accidents that can be prevented. Learn how you and yours can help the littlest members of your family stay safe this holiday.

“With the hustle and bustle of the season, parents may overlook something that could lead to an otherwise preventable injury,” says Richard A. Saladino, MD, former chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at UPMC Children’s Hospital, agrees.

“Family and social activities naturally increase this time of year, but we ask adults to still be aware of hazards,” she says.

So what can you do to keep your kids safe? Follow the simple steps below to keep everyone safe, healthy, and happy this holiday season.

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Tips for a Safe Holiday

  • Keep all alcohol out of the reach of children. Clean up immediately to avoid exposing kids to leftover drinks.
  • Do not put potentially harmful gifts (such as perfume/cologne, glass, or any other poison or sharp materials) under the tree where children can get to them.
  • Keep mistletoe and holly berries out of the reach of children; they can be toxic if too much is ingested.
  • Avoid using small decorations that could be swallowed by a child.
  • Never leave children in a room with lighted candles. Keep matches, lighters, and all flames out of reach of children.
  • Turn off all lights when leaving the house.
  • Do not use indoor lights outside.
  • Check all toys for button batteries—the small disc-shaped batteries often found in small toys, cameras, watches, etc. Make sure children cannot remove the batteries from their toys or reach where they are stored because they pose a swallowing risk and can damage the inside of the throat or stomach.
  • Children should not arrange lighting or ornaments without close supervision.
  • If you have a live tree, make sure the stand stays filled with water; artificial trees should be marked “fire-resistant.”
  • All lights should be marked with the UL Seal that certifies that the product has safety tested.

Children should be supervised at all times throughout the year, but it’s important to keep in mind the special hazards that may be around during the holidays. Following these safety tips can help prevent injuries and allow you to enjoy making holiday memories with your children!

For more information on holiday safety, please visit the Holiday & Seasonal Injury Prevention webpage. Make sure your child starts off the new year on a healthy note. Visit UPMC Children’s online to schedule a wellness appointment.


About Pediatrics

From nutrition to illnesses, from athletics to school, children will face many challenges growing up. Parents often will make important health care decisions for them. We hope to help guide both of you in that journey. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is a national leader in pediatric care, ranking consistently on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll. We provide expert treatment for pediatric diseases, along well-child visits, urgent care, and more. With locations across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, you can find world-class care close to home. We also work closely with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, a national leader in care for newborns and their mothers. Our goal is to provide the best care for your children, from birth to adulthood and beyond. Visit our website to find a doctor near you.