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Santa’s reindeer share holiday safety secrets

This year Santa asked each of his reindeer to tell him ways children can stay safe over the holidays.
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Tis the season for bright lights, family gatherings and delicious food – a time to be enjoyed by all, especially children. Help keep children safe and full of cheer this festive season by following Santa’s Safety Secrets to protect little ones from some common holiday dangers: 

#1 Santa’s Safety Secret from Dasher
Decorate your tree safely: Switch to low-energy LED lights to minimize risk of fires and avoid decorating the lower branches of the tree. Keep bright, shiny and small decorations that attract children’s attention out of reach on upper branches. Remember to switch off holiday lights before you go to bed or leave the house. 

#2 Santa’s Safety Secret from Dancer
Place candles carefully: Place menorahs and other candles on high, non-flammable surfaces and away from the edge of a table. Avoid placing candles on tablecloths or anything else that a child could pull down or knock over.

#3 Santa’s Safety Secret from Prancer
Protect children from fireplaces: Protect children from burns by placing safety gates around your fireplace. Remember that even after a fire is out, it takes about 45 minutes for the fireplace glass to cool down to a safe temperature. Toddlers and children can accidentally stumble towards fireplaces or reach out to touch the flame out of curiosity, resulting in immediate burns from the flame or hot glass.

#4 Santa’s Safety Secret from Vixen
Practice mindfulness to reduce stress and anxiety: A great way to be present during the holidays, and manage difficult or stressful situations, is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways, and can be done at almost any time. Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, part of BC Children’s, have several resources available including audio and video recordings to guide you and your family members in things like meditation, breathing and body scan exercises.

#5 Santa’s Safety Secret from Comet
Keep holiday plants out of reach: Although they look pretty, mistletoe and holly plants are poisonous and should be kept away from children.

#6 Santa’s Safety Secret from Cupid
Check holiday lights and electrical cords: Carefully inspect holiday light strings, and discard any with frayed, cracked or broken extension cords, lights or bulbs. Keep all lights and electrical cords out of reach. Remember to use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside – outdoor lights can heat up and pose a fire risk.  

#7 Santa’s Safety Secret from Donner
Eat regular meals and snacks during the holidays: Skipping meals may increase your chance of overindulging at parties. If you’re at a holiday party, choose fresh fruit as a colourful and tasty alternative to candy for dessert. Handle foods safely and remember to refrigerate perishable foods within two hours of serving. Keep an elves eye on children while visiting friends and family and ensure all snacks that may be choking hazards are out of reach from children.

#8 Santa’s Safety Secret from Blitzen
Buy age-appropriate toys: When purchasing gifts, pay attention to age recommendations and labelling on toys. Many toys have small parts that children may swallow or choke on. Dispose of broken toys, popped balloons and plastic wrap, and keep toys for older children away from their younger siblings. 

#9 Santa’s Safety Secret from Rudolph
Travel safely: Use appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts when travelling this holiday season. Remember when cycling to use bike lights and reflectors. Be mindful of parking lots, busy streets and crowded sidewalks. Follow all traffic signals, hold hands when walking and wear clothing that helps others see you and your children.  

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

BC Children's Hospital
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