Stress Less: Holiday Tips

by | Tuesday, November 11, 2014 12:08:00 PM | 0 comment(s)

We all love celebrating the holidays with our family and friends. As we gather around the fireplace or have dinner with loved ones, it's a great time to keep some safety tips in mind.  

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant."
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.

  • Toy Safety
  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Young children can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death -- after swallowing button batteries and magnets. In addition to toys, button batteries are often found in musical greeting cards, remote controls, hearing aids, and other small electronics. Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
  • Children can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons; do not allow children under age 8 to play with them.
  • Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
  • Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.

  • Don't Forget About the Pets

    The holidays can be a stressful time for us all — including pets. Mouthwatering foods, unfamiliar guests and temptations in the form of tinsel, string lights and evergreen needles can excite, confuse, and in some situations, prove to be dangerous to pets. Here's list of helpful tips to remember around the holidays to keep your pets happy and safe throughout the holiday season.

    Pet-Proof Your Christmas Tree

    Whether live or artificial, a Christmas tree is potentially hazardous to your pets. Ensure your pets remain healthy and your tree stays upright with some simple precautions:

  • Keep the tree blocked off with a playpen or other barrier because tree needles are sharp and indigestible to pets. If necessary, use a pet / baby gate to block off an entire room.
  • Cover your tree stand with aluminum foil to prevent your pets from drinking out of it. Tree sap and water can be a lethal combination.
  • Secure your tree to the wall or ceiling so climbing cats or playful dogs can't knock it over.

  • Decorate With Your Pet's Safety in Mind

    It's normal for pets to be curious about the new and unfamiliar. Ensure your decorations are pet-friendly:

  • Choose Christmas tree ornaments carefully, and avoid those made of glass, contain small detachable parts or are covered in toxic paint. If you aren't sure if an ornament is pet-safe, hang it out of your pet's reach, or leave it off the tree completely. Decorate the bottom of your tree with nonbreakable, nontoxic items.
  • Don't decorate with edible ornaments, such as candy canes, Christmas cookies, popcorn garlands or cranberry strands. They make pets sick, and your dog may knock over the tree while attempting to reach them.
  • Say no to tinsel. Even if you only decorate the upper branches of your tree with tinsel, it can fall to lower branches and the floor. When swallowed, it can block your pet's intestines.
  • Select nontoxic varieties of holiday plants to beautify your home. Amaryllis, holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are all beautiful to look at, but they're toxic to pets. Choose spider plants, American violets or Boston ferns instead.
  • Keep snow globes on the mantle or a high shelf so your dog can't break them with a wag of his tail. This classic decoration often contains antifreeze that, although sweet-tasting, is deadly to pets.

  • Don't Let Your Pet Get Burned

    Nothing makes a home more festive than the warm glow of candles and twinkling lights. You don't have to do without, just choose options that safeguard your pet:

  • Make electrical cords less enticing. Cats, in particular, love to chew on dangling cords, which can result in shock or electrocution. Protect cords with cord covers, tinfoil tape or double-sided tape. You can also wipe down cords with something cats find distasteful, such as hot sauce, lavender oil or vinegar.
  • Choose flameless candles. Wagging tails and curious paws don't mix with traditional candles. Opt instead for LED (light-emitting diode) flameless candles.
  • String Christmas tree lights on high branches only. Lights can become hot and burn your pet's paws or mouth.

  • Keep Food and Drink Away From Your Pet

    Holiday food is as tempting to pets as it is to us. Unlike humans, pets don't understand that certain foods can make them sick. Ensure your pet stays well by doing the following:

  • Don't feed your pets food scraps. Nothing puts pounds on a pet like table scraps, plus turkey and chicken bones can choke dogs.
  • Keep bowls of candy and chocolate well out of your pet's reach. Chocolate is toxic to pets, and even a small amount can make pets sick, while hard candy presents a choking hazard.
  • Secure the trash so curious pets can't forage for food scraps.
  • Keep wine, eggnog and other alcoholic beverages away from your pet.

  • Be Considerate of Your Pet

    Remember to keep your pet's interest top of mind. While the holidays can be a busy time, it's easy to keep your pet happy and content:

  • Play with him, take him on long walks and provide him with healthy treats and stimulating toys. A bored pet is more likely to get into mischief so keep him active and entertained.
  • Vary your pet's routine as little as possible. Keep his walks, feed and play times, and naps on a regular schedule.
  • Confine your pet to an unused room or crate. Some of your guests may be uncomfortable or afraid around pets, while your pet may be nervous or frightened by a large group of unfamiliar people. Ensure a comfortable situation for both by keeping your pets safely confined.

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