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Keeping Safe At Christmas

Christmas is coming. The countdown has truly begun. Everyone hopes for a special time time with family and friends.

The flip side of the festive season is that it can be a time when the risk of accidents goes up.

• More than 80,000 people needed to be treated at hospital for accidents that happened over the Christmas period.
• There is twice the risk of a fire in the home over Christmas.

Christmas can be a stressful time too. This can be for a lot of reasons – the pressure to ‘get things right’ at this time of year is especially high. The Mental Health Charity MIND found that;

• One in ten people said they found Christmas hard to cope with.
• 33% of those with mental health problems found Christmas especially difficult.

Take extra care to keep yourself and your family safe and well and get the best out of your Christmas celebrations.

  • Food is part of the tradition of Christmas. Cooking for a bigger crowd than usual, cooking foods you are not familiar with can all make the risks of food poisoning higher.

    • Wash your hands often, using soap and warm water.
    • Store food at the advised temperature and check use by dates. Defrost frozen foods carefully.
    • Keep raw meats separate from cooked foods.
    • Make sure your oven is hot and follow cooking instructions.
    • Store and reheat any leftovers carefully. *Click Here* for further NHS guidance. 

     

     

  • Accidents can happen in the kitchen at any time. At Christmas the risks can increase because;

    • We are trying to cook more and for more people.
    • Homes can be especially busy and it is easy to be distracted.
    • Our homes are more cluttered and there are more slip and trip hazards.
    • People may be drinking more alcohol which affects concentration and how well we are able to spot danger.

    You can make a safer kitchen by;

    • Preparing ahead as much as you can, allowing enough time to cook so you are not stressed.
    • Keeping everyone out of the kitchen unless they are helping to cook, especially small children.
    • Wiping up spills straight away and keeping floors and surfaces clear.
    • Putting sharp knives safely away when not in use.
    • Not drinking alcohol whilst cooking.

  • When you head out Christmas shopping be sure to;

    • Buy gifts that are suitable for the ages and development of your child. Look at our toy safety page *here* for more information.
    • Watch out for fake products – they will not have followed safety standards.
    • Buy Christmas decorations from trusted shops and check the quality. Remember they are not toys so are not safety checked in the same way.
    • Check the use by dates on food you are buying – make sure it will still be in date when you plan to use it.

      

  • Making your home feel ‘Christmassy’ is part of the exciting build up. Make sure your decorations are safe and you don’t hurt yourself getting them in place.

    Buy from reputable suppliers and remember that Christmas decorations don’t have to meet the same safety standards as toys, so should not be given to children to play with.

    Lights

    • Check any old fairy lights are working – replace if there are any worn or damaged areas. If you have had them for a while consider replacing as safety standards are regularly improved.
    • Make sure you use lights for the place they are designed. Make sure indoor lights are not used outside.
    • Do not overload electric power points.
    • Turn off all lights at night or when you go out.
    • Dispose of batteries safely.

    Candles

    Candles are used more at Christmas and can cause fires;

    • Keep out of the reach of children.
    • Never use candles / naked flames on or near your christmas tree and decorations.
    • Make sure they can not be blown over and nothing can blow on to them.
    • Do not use in bedrooms.
    • Blow out when you are not in the room with them.

    Decorations

    Decorations from baubles to tinsel can be used safely with a little care.

    • Remember they are not designed as toys and do not have to reach the same safety standards.
    • Keep any glass decorations out of the reach of children.
    • Make sure tinsel and garlands are not left anywhere children can get hold of them to avoid the risk of strangulation.
    • Look out for small pieces coming loose that little ones could choke on.

    If you really need to put decorations at a height do so with care. Try to;

    • Make sure you are not the only adult in the house when decorating at height.
    • Wear safe non-slip shoes on.
    • Use something sturdy to stand on and have someone hold it steady.
    • Do not ‘over reach’ - move the ladder or chair along to keep near to where you are decorating

  • Trips and falls are more likely to happen when we have a busy full house. Rushing around to get things done can mean we don’t concentrate as we should. At Christmas time we have lots of packaging and new things around the house too.

    • Try and get everyone to stop and have a five minute tidy up every couple of hours.
    • Keep the stairs and passage ways clear from clutter to avoid falls.
    • Clear up any spills and breakages straight away.
    • Drinking too much alcohol can cause falls.

    We can do our best to keep the risks low but accidents do happen. If an accident or illness happens be prepared and know what to do and where to go for support if needed. *Click Here* for more information. 

  • Christmas is a busy time and is often really looked forward to and enjoyed. Sometimes, for any number of reasons, Christmas can bring extra stress and pressure to families. Be realistic about how Christmas will be. It passes by quickly and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Spending time being with your children or family is what you will all remember in years to come, not a perfect tree or a turkey dinner.

    • *Click Here* to take time out to relax, it doesn’t have to take long.
    • Share the chores of Christmas if you can – make a plan ahead of time so everyone knows their jobs.
    • Stick to your Christmas budget to avoid money worries in the new year.

    If you have to be around people that you find difficult over Christmas;

    • Take short breaks – it could be a walk around the block, or even 5 minutes breathing deeply in the bathroom.
    • Don’t drink too much it can make it much harder to stay calm.
    • Focus on the people whose company you enjoy and remind your self the time soon goes by.
    • *Click Here* to look at tips to help manage tricky relationships at Christmas.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

*Click Here* to speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum. 

 

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