Children and the holiday season go together like skates and ice or cookies and milk. The stories, family gatherings and traditions we share with our children create memories that last a lifetime. As we encourage our children to join us while we bake, decorate and wrap gifts, let’s keep in mind the special safety considerations of the season.

Some types of decorations must always be kept out of reach of small hands or avoided all together. Poinsettias are mildly toxic if ingested, and holly berries are poisonous to people and pets. Candles are beautiful and tempting, and if you light them an adult must always be nearby. Even flameless candles can pose a risk as they contain tiny batteries, easily swallowed. Be sure that the batteries are inaccessible to your little ones if you use them.

Decorating the tree can be an enjoyable joint project for adults and children. Eliminate tiny decorations before you let little ones in on the action, and don’t use decorations that imitate candy or other foods. Avoid electric shock and a potential fire hazard by checking strands of lights for damage before plugging them in. If you have a curious and active toddler, it may be best to create a barrier around your finished tree to prevent the child accidentally pulling it down.

Wrapping gifts with children is both rewarding and time-consuming. If you have the patience to involve your children in this activity, there are obvious precautions about using scissors. There are some not-so-obvious considerations with the gifts themselves. Tiny items like jewelry might look good enough to eat and holiday jewelry that lights up contains small batteries, posing the same swallowing risk as in flameless candles.

In homes where baking is a holiday tradition, children are often enthusiastic participants. Close supervision is a must, especially when using candy decorations or chocolate chips that are a potential choking hazard. A “safe line” marked with tape on the floor might be a useful tool in teaching children to keep their distance from the oven.

Battle River Power Coop shares with members a keen sense of the importance of family, and we encourage you to invest a little time and planning to keep children safe during festive preparations.