The holidays are approaching quickly, and we want this to be the most wonderful time of year for our community. Together, we can do that by making sure our loved ones stay safe this winter season.
Winter Car Safety

The chilly weather might have you ready to bundle up but remember, children should never wear coats, jackets, or bulky clothing while traveling in their car seats. Here are some other ways you can ensure they are safe and warm when they travel in the car: 

  • Dress children in thin layers of clothing. 
  • If you are worried they are too cold in the car, you can use a blanket or coat over their lap instead. 
  • Never add anything under the harness of their car seat. That means no puffy coats or bulky clothes.
  • Feel free to start your car before you leave to warm it up, but if you are parked in a garage, please remember to open your garage door before you start your car. 

One way to know if a clothing item or jacket is too bulky to be worn under a car seat harness is to place the child in the car seat without it on and fit the harness to the child, like in this video. Then, take the child out of the car seat, put on their coat or the item of clothing in question, and place the child back in the car seat. If you have to loosen the harness straps at that point to harness the child in the car seat correctly, then the item of clothing in question is too bulky and should not be worn under the child’s car seat harness.  For more winter car seat safety information, visit Consumer Reports, The National Highway Traffic Safety Association, and Safe Kids Worldwide

Holiday Decorating Safety

If you plan to decorate your house, don’t forget that many decorations are choking hazards for small children. Ensure those items are either in an inaccessible area to the child(ren) or put away. Any ornaments that are glass, or easily broken, should be either placed high up on the tree or put away until another year. Fire safety is critical during the holiday season as well. Keep these safety tips in mind to make sure a fire tragedy doesn’t disrupt your holiday joy:

  • Do not overload extension cords. This means that you can use one extension cord per outlet, and never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. 
  • Never connect more than the manufacturer-recommended amount of light strands together.
  • Check older decorations and lights for frayed or damaged cords, and do not use any items with damaged wires.
  • Cover any unused outlets with outlet covers. 
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, ensure it’s watered daily to prevent it from drying out and make sure it is placed away from any heat source, like a fireplace, radiator, or space heater. 
  • If your real Christmas tree becomes dry and brittle, dispose of it immediately.
  • Candles should be placed 12 inches away from flammable items, and should never be left unattended. 
  • Make sure candles are placed on firm, flat surfaces inaccessible to pets or children. 

Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Safety Council web pages to learn more about holiday and decorating safety. 

House Fire Prevention

Colder weather can be a great time to stay cozy inside with your family, but it is important to make sure you are heating your home safely. 

  • Put controls in place to prevent children from accessing fireplaces or heaters in the home. 
  • Don’t forget that fireplace screens can get hot, so you will need to keep a close eye on even older children. 
  • Using space heaters can be an economical option to add heat to specific areas of your home, but they need a clear 3-foot radius around them. This means that they cannot be closer than 3 feet away from other items. 
  • Make sure that portable heaters are placed on a firm, flat surface. Never cover a space heater or place any items on top of it, and make sure the space heater has an auto-shut-off if it’s tipped over. 
  • If you are using radiant heat, always assume the radiator is hot. Never place anything on top of a radiator, and teach children not to touch it, or its controls.

Visit the National Fire Protection Association, the United States Fire Administration, or The Red Cross to learn more about how to prevent fires in your home and keep your family safe while staying warm inside during the winter.

Outside Winter Safety

Chilly weather doesn’t mean you can’t take your children outside for some activity. Simply take the necessary precautions listed below to help keep them safe, warm, and healthy this winter season:

  • Dress children in thin layers and make sure your child’s outermost layer is waterproof if you plan to play in any snow, especially their shoes. 
  • In the cold air, especially when wind is a factor, it’s important to take frequent breaks and have your children come inside and warm up often. 
  • Ensure your children are wearing sunscreen when playing outside because UV rays don’t take a winter break.
  • Encourage hydration for your little ones to help battle the dry conditions the winter weather brings to their skin and bodies.

To learn more about keeping your children safe when playing outside in winter weather, visit and Save the Children.

Take time to make holiday memories with your children, but don’t forget to keep safety in mind. Happy Holidays from all of us at Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina! We hope you have a wonderful new year! Stay safe!