Emily Jewkes, health educator, Bear River Health Department


It’s the holiday season again, a time when we enjoy festive meals with family and friends, deck our halls with colorful decorations, and listen to squeals of delight as our children open their brightly wrapped presents. To help ensure your kids have fun and stay safe this holiday, here are a few tips to remember.


• In 2012, 3,270 children 19 and under were seen in emergency rooms for injuries caused by nonelectric holiday decorations, like broken ornaments.

• In 2012, an estimated 192,000 children were treated in an emergency room for a toyrelated injury.

• That same year, an estimated 136,314 children ages 19 and under were injured due to a fire or burn.


1. Make sure your live tree has plenty of water by checking it regularly. Natural trees look beautiful and smell great, but if they’re not watered regularly, needles can dry out and pose a potential fire hazard.

2. Keep lit holiday candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Don’t forget to blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.

3. Consider your child’s age when purchasing toys or games this holiday season. It’s worth a second to read the instructions to make sure the gift is just right.

4. Keep a special eye on small pieces. This includes button batteries, which may be included in electronic toys. While these kinds of games are great for older kids, they can pose a potential danger for younger, curious siblings.

5. Prevent burns from hot holiday food or liquid spills. Simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge.

6. Move the ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top of the tree. That makes room at the bottom for the ones that are safer for young kids.

Traveling is another safety topic to keep in mind this holiday season. Read on for a holiday travel checklist for families. The holidays can be both a joyful and stressful time of year. Families are on the go, running errands, going shopping, and taking road trips to visit relatives and friends. Here are tips for keeping your kids safe during holiday travel.

1. Everybody needs their own restraint. Make it a rule: everyone buckled, every ride, every time, whether it’s the long trip to visit family or around the block. Remember, kids will do what you do — so buckle up every time!

2. If you are flying, take your car seat with you and use it on the plane. It will be a benefit to have it with you at your destination and when you travel to and from the airport. Rent or borrow a car seat or booster seat if you can’t take your child’s with you.

3. Watch out for small kids and distracted drivers. Parking lots are busier than usual during the holidays.

4. Remind your inexperienced teen driver to be extra alert. During the holidays, people are more distracted and the weather can be tricky.

5. Avoid distractions while driving. No text or playlist is worth the risk of taking your eyes off the road. Set your GPS to voice activated so you can concentrate on driving without having to look at your phone.

6. Plan to use a designated driver or rideshare. Make sure you get home safely after celebrating.

7. Secure loose objects. Put hot foods, large gifts, and anything else that could fly around in a crash in the trunk.

8. In cold states, prepare for weather emergencies. Pack extra blankets, food, and diapers. Keep your phone charged and make sure someone at your destination knows the route you are planning to take.

9. Keep car exhaust pipes clear. Packed snow can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.