Holiday Safety for Children and Pets

Some tips on Holiday Safety for Children and Pets by Inspection Connection



 This time of year brings great joy to many families, and lots of special memories for young children and their pets. Unfortunately, their curiosity, small size, and undeveloped motor skills can lead to injury, which makes a less-than-pleasant memory for the season. Here are just a few basic reminders to make their season safer and more enjoyable. Probably the most important, common sense realization is that small children and pets will put virtually anything and everything in their mouth that will possibly fit. It doesn’t have to taste good. They will try it anyway.




·       Try to keep decoration cords out of reach of children and pets, and make sure they are securely plugged into their socket

·       Avoid decorations that are sharp and breakable, or keep them well beyond the reach of a curious pet or child.

·       Don’t use decorations that resemble candy or food, which may tempt them to put it in their mouth

·       Mistletoe, Christmas rose, and ivy are poisonous to all humans and most animals. Poinsettias are not as toxic as once believed, but can cause a child or pet to be sick. Keep them well out of reach, or use plastic, non-flammable ones.




Toys and Ornaments

          · Purchase toys that are age appropriate. Toys designed for older children                  can be dangerous and frustrating for younger ones.

· Older ornaments and decorations may have been painted with lead paint. These should be kept out of reach of children and pets.

·  Electric toys should be UL/FM approved, and should be inspected for defective/frayed cords before use.

·  Avoid using tinsel, which can fall on the floor and a curious child or pet may eat it. This can cause anything from mild stress to death.

·  Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree. A damaged cord can energize the entire tree, and touching a branch can cause electrocution.

· Strings that are attached to tree ornaments should 7 inches or shorter. A child or pet can wrap a longer string around their neck and choke

· Toys with sharp edges, points, strings and small parts should not be given to a child.



· Avoid mittens with strings for children. Though they are designed to prevent loss, the strings can strangle a child or a pet. A mitten is easier to replace than a child or pet.

· Keep lit candles out of reach, and sturdy enough so they cannot fall over or off a table that gets bumped. Children are fascinated by lit candles and will try to grab them, and pets can knock them over.  The USFA states that candles cause 10 deaths, 175 injuries, and over $20 million in property damage each year.

· Never leave a child or pet unattended near a space heater or the fireplace.

· Don’t burn wrapping paper in your fireplace. Some can burn rapidly and intensely, and even cause a flash fire from the colored ink.

· Use care with “fire salts”, which produce colorful flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain poisonous, heavy metals, and cause severe gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if digested.

· Keep scissors and present wrapping materials stored out of reach. Children and pets are curious. They will even unroll Scotch tape and eat it.

· Nuts and hard candies are favorites this time of year, and are a hazard to small children and pets. They should be kept out of reach and offered to guests, not left in a bowl on a table.

·Please check smoke detectors, fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, etc.  They are proven to save lives every year.




These short tips cannot replace common sense. There are many other precautions that can be taken. I once visited a home where they used “baby gates” to surround their tree so their pets and small children could not get close. Remember, the home you are visiting may not be child proof. Never leave a child unattended while visiting the home of a friend or family member. Remember, they are curious and want to explore everything, usually starting with how it tastes….


Please have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable holiday season, hug your child and pet your pets!