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Walk around your home with this list before your young guests arrive

  • Take time out from your party preparations to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Be sure to share your family fire escape plan with overnight guests as soon as they arrive.
  • If your home already hasn’t been childproofed, install tamper-resistant receptacles or use safety covers on all unused electrical outlets to prevent electrical shocks and burns.
  • Make sure children are supervised at all times – especially in the kitchen and anywhere space heaters, candles or fireplaces are being used.
  • Keep young children (and pets) away from decorations and extension cords.
  • To avoid overheating and tripping hazards, don’t place power or extension cords in high-traffic areas or under carpets, rugs or furniture – and never nail or staple cords to the wall or baseboard.
  • Avoid putting lights, ornaments, metal hooks and other small, mouth-sized decorations near the ground or on the lower limbs of your Christmas tree, where an infant or young child easily could reach them.
  • Put decorations, gifts and other combustibles at least 3 feet from curious hands.
  • Install safety gates at both ends of stairways.
  • Consider using battery-operated LED lights in indoor areas where children play.
  • Hide small, shiny items – such as buttons, coins and jewelry – that could pose a choking hazard.
  • Keep drinks (and other liquids), away from electrical devices. Spills can result in dangerous shocks or fires.
  • Outside, keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow, standing water and areas where kids will play.
  • Make sure all toys are age appropriate and read all labels and instructions before letting visiting children play with them.
  • Keep candles, matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Better yet, don’t use them unless absolutely necessary.
  • Turn off and unplug all decorations before leaving home or turning in for the night.


Here’s a special list of tips for the kitchen

  • Move cleaning products, knives and other dangerous items out of the sight and reach of children, or store them in a locked area.
  • Never leave cooking equipment unattended.
  • Never leave the kitchen when something’s cooking; a fire or accident can happen in an instant.
  • Closely supervise children, keeping them at least 3 feet away from cooking appliances.
  • Don’t hold a child as you remove food from the cooktop, stove or microwave.
  • To protect kids from spills and burns, use the back burners and turn the pot handles in, away from young, reaching hands.
  • Once your holiday meal is ready, check that the stove and oven are turned off and that other kitchen appliances are unplugged and out of reach.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy (and know how to use it).


Keep safety in mind when buying toys too

  • Don’t buy an electrical toy (or any toy) for a child too young to safely use it. Always check the age recommendation on the package, and remember that this is a minimum age recommendation. You still should take into account your child’s capabilities.
  • Never give any child under 10 years old a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, choose toys that are battery operated.
  • Make sure all electrical toys bear a fire safety label from an independent testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.).
  • An adult should supervise the use of any electrical product. Consider both the maturity of the child and the nature of the toy when deciding how much supervision is required.
  • Electric-powered toys and other devices can be extremely hazardous if improperly used, so read the instruction manual and share operational tips with children.
  • Inspect all electrical toys periodically. Repair, replace or discard broken or deteriorating toys.
  • Prevent play with electrical toys near water, and make sure kids understand that water and electricity don’t mix.
  • Put away all electrical toys immediately after playtime is over – in a dry storage area out of the reach of younger children.
  • If kids are old enough to handle plugging in a charger for toys (or a cell phone or tablet), review the product’s safety tips and usage instructions with them. Also remind them to unplug the charger when it’s not in use, to save energy.
  • Check for product recalls on the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
  • Visit for more information on toy safety.

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