How to keep your children safe during the holidays

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - It's a busy time of year, running around to get gifts, decorating and cooking. Sometimes, you could be too busy to notice some hazards around the house for children. Safe Kids of the Magic Valley has a few tips on what to watch out for.

"Make sure to keep those little small items up off the floor. Children, every year, choke on Christmas ornaments, or pieces that go along with ornaments," said Jennifer Westendorf, the program coordinator for Safe Kids.

She advised to have more kid-friendly ornaments towards the bottom of the tree, along with putting other decorations out of reach from children.

Another concern is candles, she said. Now-a-days, there are flameless candles that can be used.

"Little kids get curious by candles and the fire and the lights at Christmas, so to keep those things out of reach or take that safer option of purchasing the flameless candles," she said.

She also said batteries could be laying around as well, presenting a choking hazard to the kids.

"The lithium batteries are really tiny and sometimes they can pop out of that item really easily," she continued. "They’re not only on decorations and watches and everything, but they’re in toys as well."

If a child does swallow a battery, Westendorf said to seek medical attention immediately.

Another issue Westendorf touched on was car safety.

"Everybody is really in a big hurry this time of year and people are out shopping and driving, sometimes not so safe," she explained.

She advises drivers to pay attention in parking lots, as sometimes you can't see small children while backing out of a space.

Westendorf said layering children with proper clothing is another safety issue, along with installing the car seat correctly.

"One thing that we tell parents when they come in for a car seat check is that it’s really important to keep your vehicle clean," she said. "We’re shopping, we’re throwing things in the back, sometimes we run out of room in the trunk, so we’re piling some things in the front. Think about those objects as projectiles. If you get into a crash, they’re loose, they’re going to fly through the air and they could potentially hit you or your children and injure you or kill you."

If you decide to warm up your car in the mornings, Westendorf urges to make sure to be careful, as gases from the exhaust could be dangerous.

"Of course if you have your vehicle in the garage, don’t warm your car up in the garage. Back it out, make sure that garage door is open and again don’t let it run for too long," she advised.

Before hitting the road, make sure there are no distractions as there are many cars on the road. Pay attention to the road in front, instead of a small handheld device.

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