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Seasonal Safety for Parents and Caregivers

Use these tips to ensure that you, and the children in your care, are safe when celebrating the following holidays and events:

In North Carolina, the only legal fireworks are devices with 200 grams or less of chemical compound per device. Examples include sparklers, fountains, glow worms, snap pops and other similar novelty devices. Generally speaking, any firework device that explodes, spins, flies, jumps or leaves the ground in any way is illegal, including firecrackers, ground spinners, roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars.

  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the professionals. Attend a public fireworks display that is being performed by licensed and permitted professionals.
  • Young children should never play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
  • Never re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one item at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them in metal or glass containers.

Halloween is an exciting night for kids and parents alike. But Halloween is also the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians. Dusk, or between 6 – 9 p.m. is the most dangerous time for pedestrians on Halloween. Follow these tips to stay safe!

Visibility

  • Place reflective tape and stickers to the fronts and backs of costumes and treat bags.
  • Light-colored costumes help kids stand out in the dark night.

General Injury Prevention

  • Lightweight costumes at least four to six inches from the ground are safest for preventing falls while traveling from house to house.
  • Opt for flexible accessories and props, such as swords for pirate costumes, since rigid accessories can cause additional injuries during falls.
  • Choose non-toxic makeup instead of masks to allow better vision.
  • Hats and shoes should fit well — adult clothing may be fun for children, but oversized clothes are more dangerous.
  • Make sure that children do not puncture glow sticks that they wear or play with since some contain toxic substances.

Burn Prevention

  • Keep candles, jack-o-lanterns, matches and lighters out of kids' reach.
  • Purchase only costumes labeled as flame-resistant.
  • Costumes with flimsy material, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts are more likely to come in contact with exposed flames than tighter-fitting costumes.

Traffic Safety

  • Practice good pedestrian habits such as stopping at street corners before crossing, looking both ways before crossing any street, and crossing only at intersections or crosswalks.
  • Use sidewalks whenever possible and avoid crossing lawns that might have hidden obstacles.

Toy Safety

  • Choose safe toys.
    • Ensure that children play with age-appropriate toys, as indicated by safety labels. Consider the child's interests and skill level, and look for quality design and construction.
    • Consider purchasing a small parts tester to determine whether or not small toys and objects in your home may present a choking hazard to young children.
  • Inspect all toys regularly for potential hazards.
    • Check regularly for damage that could create small pieces that are choking hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately, or discard damaged toys out of children's reach.
  • Watch for toys that can become hazards.
    • Young children should never play with toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches, which can accidentally strangle them.
    • Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Children under age 8 should not use toys with electrical plugs or batteries.
    • Don't let children under age 8 blow up balloons. Use Mylar balloons instead of latex balloons. If you must use latex balloons, store them out of reach of children, and deflate and discard balloons and balloon pieces of use.
  • Ensure that toys are used in a safe environment.
    • Riding toys should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools. Riding toy related deaths can occur when a child falls from a toy or rides a toy into a body of water.
    • Always supervise children at play. Play is even more valuable when adults become involved and interact with children rather than supervising from a distance.
  • Make sure toys are stored safely.
    • Teach children to put toys away after playing.
    • Ensure that toys intended for younger children are stored separately from those for older children.
    • Make sure toy chests have no lids or have safety hinges.
    • Return warranty and product registration forms for new toy purchases to the manufacturers to ensure that you will be notified of any recalls.

Christmas Tree Safety

  • After choosing a natural tree, trim one inch from the tree's trunk to ensure water is reaching the tree. Choose a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.
  • Water natural Christmas trees daily to keep them from drying out, and safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.
  • Display the tree at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces and radiators. Never use lit candles as tree decorations.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
  • Treat natural trees with flame-retardant spray to prevent them from igniting.

Lighting Safety

  • Always unplug holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use holiday lights. For example, use only lights specified for outdoor use when decorating outside.
  • Do not use any string of lights that has worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Connect no more than three strands of push-in bulbs and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.

Candle Safety

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Have working smoke alarms in your home.
  • Store matches, lighters and candles away from children's reach.
  • Keep candles away from anything that can burn including curtains, blinds, wallpaper, clothing or any other material that can catch fire.
  • Don't place lit candles in windows or near doorways where drafts could bring combustibles in contact with the flame.
  • Use sturdy candle holders and place them on a solid, uncluttered surface away from edges where they could be tipped over.
  • Use flashlights and battery-powered lighting during power outages.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a room with a burning candle and don't allow children or teens to burn candles in their bedrooms.

For more information and additional resources, please visit the following websites: