The holiday season is here, a time to enjoy festive meals with family and friends and deck the halls with beautiful Christmas decorations. To make sure your family has fun and stays safe this Christmas, Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids N.C. Chair Mike Causey has compiled a couple lists of safety tips to remember.
“The holiday season is a joyous time, but it can also be pretty stressful,” said Commissioner Causey. “Families are running errands, going shopping, and traveling long distances to visit family and friends so it’s important to stay safe at all times even if you have to slow down and take a few minutes to think about what you’re doing.”
According to the American Safety Council, most traffic accidents occur between the afternoon of Christmas Eve and the evening of Christmas Day. Data shows traffic accidents and fatalities decline when Christmas falls on a weekday instead of weekend, like it does this year.
Commissioner Causey offered the following safety tips to keep your family safe on the roads during the holidays:
- Check your car seat before holiday travel. 73 percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly. If you have questions or concerns, certified child passenger safety technicians are able to help install or ensure the seat is correctly installed.
- Use booster seats. Kids who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are not ready for a seat belt or the front seat. They are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Even when children have graduated from booster seats, they should remain in the back seat until they reach the age of 13.
- Bulky coats and car seats don’t mix. If it’s cold outside, cover babies and young children with a thick blanket to keep them warm after they’re securely strapped into their seat. Bulky winter clothes and coats can inhibit a car seat from doing its job.
- Have an exit strategy. If you need to change a diaper or feed your children, take the time to safely stop at the nearest exit to do so. Stopping along the roadway can be hazardous to the occupants in your car or the vehicles that need to pass you.
- Remember the car seat for air travel. If you plan to travel by air this holiday season, be sure to bring your child’s car seat onto the plane. Check to ensure the car seat is labeled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” For babies and toddlers, this is the safest way to travel.
Of course, gift giving is one of the staple traditions of the holiday season but it’s important to make sure you consider the safety ramifications of a gift before you buy. In fact, 96% of parents don’t follow the recommended age labels on toys for their children, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
“We all love to see the look on a child’s face when they rip into a present to find just what they wanted for Christmas,” said Commissioner Causey. “But the hard truth is that some toys are too dangerous for young children so parents and caregivers need to make sure they consider all the risks.”
Commissioner Causey is reminding shoppers of these safety tips to keep in mind when buying gifts for children:
- Find the perfect toy for the right age. Consider your child’s age and development when purchasing a toy or game. Read the instructions and warning labels to make sure it’s just right for your child. Check to make sure there aren’t any small parts or other potential choking hazards, before you settle on the perfect toy.
- Don’t forget a helmet for riding toys. Include a helmet to keep children safe while they’re having fun on a new bike, skateboard, scooter, or any other riding equipment.
- Store toys after play. Use a bin or container to store toys after playtime is over. Make sure there are no holes or hinges that could catch little fingers.
- Sign up to receive product recalls. Stay up to date on toy recalls. Safe Kids compiles product recalls specific to children and sends twice-monthly e-mail alerts for recent recalls. Sign up for the latest recall information.
To learn more safety tips for children, visit: http://www.safekids.org/safetytips.
Safe Kids North Carolina is dedicated to preventing childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in North Carolina. For more information, contact Director Shannon Bullock at 919.647.0081 or [email protected].