Tips for a Fun and Safe Holiday Season
Candles, Fireplaces, Lighters and Matches
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
- Do not use candles to decorate holiday trees.
- Use sturdy candle holders that won't easily tip over.
- Keep burning candles out of the reach of children and away from pets, decorations or wrapping paper.
- Keep all lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children.
- Decorations and candles that look or smell like food or candy should be kept out of children's reach. They may be attractive to a child, but could be poisonous or cause choking.
- Always supervise children around fireplaces.
Gifts and Toys
- Always supervise children at play and teach them how to use toys safely.
- Select only toys suitable for the child's age group, and make sure to read and follow all instructions provided with the toy.
Toys with small loose parts can be dangerous for children under three years of age or older children who are still putting things in their mouths. Keep them out of reach.
- Make sure batteries in toys are properly installed and not accessible to the child. Do not let children take battery-operated toys to bed.
- Throw out all packing materials like Styrofoam pellets, ties, plastic bags and wrapping as soon as possible. Children can choke or suffocate on them.
- Do not give young children adult jewellery to wear or play with; it may contain lead, cadmium or other toxic materials. Do not allow children to suck or chew on any jewellery.
- Products with loose small powerful magnets should be kept safely out of the reach of children. Unlike traditional magnets, small powerful magnets, such as rare-earth magnets, have a very strong magnetic pull creating a unique safety concern. They are used in a wide range of items, from jewellery, clothing accessories and household items, to children's products, such as building toys or science kits. Small powerful magnets that are loose or contained in a very small item are dangerous because they are easily swallowed. If more than one magnet is swallowed over a short period of time, they can attract one another through the intestines and create a blockage or slowly tear through the intestinal walls. The results can be fatal. Older children are known to play with these small powerful magnets in their mouths: using them for fake tongue or cheek piercings, attaching them to braces, etc. Teach children to keep powerful magnets away from their mouths.
- Keep all cosmetics and personal care products like perfume, aftershave and nail polish remover, as well as all medications and household chemical products, out of the sight and reach of children and away from heat sources.
- Before using a cosmetic gift for the first time, do a patch test to check if you are sensitive or allergic to something in the cosmetic. Do not use the cosmetic product if the area becomes red, itchy, burning or blistering.
- When buying a real tree, check that it is fresh (needles are hard to pull off). Water the tree daily.
- Make sure the tree is well secured in a sturdy stand and place it away from traffic areas, doorways, heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
- Remove the tree right after the holidays or as soon as the needles start to fall to avoid a potential fire hazard. Dispose of it according to local regulations. Many municipalities have tree recycling programs.
- Trees and decorations made of marabou or other feathers could easily catch fire if exposed to a flame or other ignition source. Do not use with decorative lights, and keep away from candles, lighters, matches, fireplaces, woodstoves and portable heaters.
- Keep ornaments and decorations away from young children. Decorations may contain lead, cadmium or other toxic materials that can be harmful to young children if they put them in their mouths.
- If there are children around, avoid decorations that are sharp, breakable or have small removable parts, or put those decorations out of reach.
- When decorating your home with holiday lights, look for the mark of an accredited certification agency and only use items that have this mark. To find more information for your area, see the table at the end of this document.
Follow electrical product ratings for indoor & outdoor applications & wattage.
- Always plug exterior electrical cords and light strings into a Ground Fault (GFCI) outlet. GFCIs are designed to almost instantly sense an electrical ground fault and stop the flow of electrical current before someone is hurt.
- Check all light bulbs before use. Replace broken or burned-out bulbs with those recommended by the manufacturer.
- Ensure you check electrical cords and light strings before plugging these in. If these are frayed, have exposed wires, loose connections or broken light sockets, cut off the plug and dispose of these according to your local regulations. Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets.
- Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords - this can create overheating and result in a fire. Use more than one outlet or power bar if the wattage of your lights is more than the outlet can handle.
- Handle bubble lights carefully and keep them away from children. They may contain a hazardous chemical that can cause irritation or chemical burns if the bulb breaks and the chemical is released.
- Turn off all indoor holiday lights before you go to bed or leave your home.
- Holiday season is a time of gathering for a lot of communities in Canada, which can result in small children being left unattended. When visiting family and friends, be aware that not everyone will take the same precautions you do for ensuring an area is free of hazards and safe for children. Supervise children closely.
If young children are going to be visiting over the holidays, make sure your house is safe for them by covering electrical outlets, barring stairwells and removing furniture and decorations that may be hazardous to children.
- Keep children away from stoves when you are cooking.
- When a food or beverage is put into crystal ware, some lead may be released into the food or beverage. Use lead crystal ware only for serving. Do not keep food or beverages in lead crystal containers for any length of time. Do not serve pregnant women or children drinks in lead crystal glasses. Babies should never drink from lead crystal bottles or cups.
- Glazes on glass or ceramic dishes bought outside of Canada may contain higher levels of lead or cadmium than are allowed in Canada. Do not use them for serving food or beverages, unless the seller can provide you with assurance that they are safe.
- The safest place for an infant to sleep is alone in a crib that meets current safety regulations.
- Keep smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order.
- Health Canada is interested in receiving reports of health and safety-related consumer incidents. If you would like more information, or if you think you have a consumer product that could be dangerous, file a report or contact Consumer Product Safety, Health Canada: 1-866-662-0666 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To find more information about electrical safety and accredited certification agencies, contact the following provincial and territorial authorities:
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