Tue, Jan 23, 2018 07:59 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Tips for a safer holiday

FRANKFORT — The holidays are filled with many time-consuming and busy activities such as shopping, decorating, entertaining, traveling and playing, so the Cabinet for Health Services wants to remind people to keep safety in mind to ensure the happiest holidays possible.

The holidays can be made more enjoyable taking some basic safety precautions about outdoor fun, food safety, visiting, and fireplaces, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Outdoor Fun

• Make sure children’s gloves and shoes stay dry. If either becomes wet, change them right away.

• Prohibit sledding on or into the roadway. Look for shallow slopes that are free of obstacles such as trees and fences.

• Ensure that an adult is in charge of cutting down a live tree for the holiday. Young children can pick out the tree while an adult does the chopping or cutting. Check the tree for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers; needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

Food Safety

• Care should be taken to thoroughly wash all raw vegetables and fruits prior to preparing and serving them. These are foods that are typically grown outdoors and in the soil and possibly exposed to contaminated water or soil.

• Wash hands frequently and thoroughly - foodborne illness is easily spread by unclean hands.

• Always keep raw and cooked foods separate to prevent cross contamination. Thoroughly clean cutting boards between uses, use separate utensils when preparing foods, and always wash a spoon used to taste food before reuse.

• Fully cook all meats and poultry.

• Care should be taken in transporting potluck dishes. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold prior to serving.

Entertaining and Visiting

• Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.

• Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots.

• Keep a laminated list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the poison control center.

• Ask your neighbor if they have a gun before sending your kids over to play. If the answer is yes, you need to make absolutely sure that all guns are stored unloaded and locked - ideally in a gun safe - with ammunition locked separately. Include the question along with other things you might normally discuss before sending your child to someone’s house.

• Plan a safe place for babies to sleep when traveling. Ensure that unfamiliar cribs and playpens meet current design specifications.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that babies who sleep in adult beds are up to 40 percent more likely to suffocate that those that sleep in an infant crib that meets current specifications because they can become entrapped in openings such as between the bed and wall or suffocate in soft bedding material. “Check cribs and playpens for safety requirements such as the space between side slats (no more than 2 3/8 inches) and materials that could cause suffocation before putting baby down for a nap. You should remove suffocation hazards like pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals,” said Dr. Rice Leach, Commissioner of Kentucky’s Department for Public Health. “Just taking a few minutes to ensure safety can make all the difference between a happy holiday and a tragic one.”

Fire places

• Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.

• Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

For more information on consumer product safety, visit or www.aap.orq or or call Mike Cavanah or Tammy Warford, Environmental Management Branch, Department of Public Health, (502) 564-4856. For further food safety information contact Anita Travis, Food Safety Branch. Department of Public Health, (502) 554-7181.

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