Tips for Keeping Children Safe During the Holidays

The Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center (CCIC) provides the following holiday safety tips to help parents become better informed on injury prevention tips.


  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a "Fire Resistant" label.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness
    • Make sure the needles are soft and don't fall off
    • Live trees need water, and lots of it! Check your tree's water level daily.
    • Dry trees can burn in seconds!
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators, portable heaters, and exits.
  • Remove live trees from your home as soon as possible. Many tree fires occur on or after New Year's Day.


  • Check each set of lights for damaged sockets or wires.
    • Make sure all bulbs work and there are no frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections.
    • Throw away any bad strands.
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations concerning the maximum number of light sets that can be connected together.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Use only light sets and extension cords marked "for outdoor use" outside your home.


  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
  • Never use lighted candles on or near a tree or other evergreens.
  • Keep children and pets in mind when placing decorations on a tree.
  • Remove all wrapping paper, bags, paper, ribbons, and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose as suffocation and chocking hazards to a small child or cause a fire if near a flame.
  • Keep potentially poisonous holiday plant decorations , including mistletoe berries, Jerusalem cherry, and holly berry away from children.


  • "Think Big" when choosing toys for small children
    • Small parts could be a choking hazard.
    • Make sure gifts are appropriate for the child's age.
  • "Think Easy" when choosing a gift for someone who may have arthritis or some other physical challenge.
  • Consider giving the gift of safety!
    • Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers make great gifts!

Fireplaces and Heaters

  • Before starting a fire in a fireplace, remove all decorations (including stockings) and be sure the flu is open.
  • Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. They can burn extremely fast and throw off sparks.
  • If a glass-fronted gas fireplace is used, keep children and others well away from it with a screen or gate. The glass doors can get hot enough to cause serious burns, and they stay hot long after the fire is out. Always place a screen in front of a wood-burning fireplace as well.
  • When plugging in electric heaters, make sure the outlet was designed to handle the load.
  • When using kerosene heaters, make sure you use the correct fuel.
    • Using the wrong fuel can cause a fire or even an explosion.

Be Prepared!

  • Check the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector monthly!
    • Change the batteries as instructed by the manufacturer.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
  • Develop a fire escape plan and practice the plan with your family!

Community Outreach Programs

We have developed community-based programs, for all ages, aimed at reducing the occurrence of pediatric injuries across our region.

Learn more