Winter Holiday Safety

Relax, have fun and spend time with family and friends. Here are a few tips to make sure you have a happy, healthy and trauma free holiday season.

Holiday Decorations

Holiday Decorations

  • If using a real Christmas tree, make sure it is secure. Water it frequently as it can become a fire hazard if it dries out.
  • Place the Christmas tree away from fireplaces, heaters or other heat sources. 
  • Make sure that the Christmas tree lights, Chanukah menorah, or outdoor electric lights are in good working order and are well maintained. Turn them off when leaving the house. 
  • Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords. 
  • Hang any Christmas tree decorations that are fragile or contain small parts out of reach of young children.
Shopping for toys

Shopping for toys

  • Select toys to suit a child's age, abilities, skills and interest level. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Watch for small parts: do not give toys with small parts to infants and toddlers. They tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking.

For more information, go to Buying guidelines for safe and fun toy

Home safety

Home safety

  • If you visit friends and relatives who have not childproofed their homes, make sure that medication and cleaning supplies are out of reach of your children.
  • Keep plants and poisonous products out of reach of children. If your child ingests a plant or poisonous product, call the Quebec Poison Control Centre at 1-800-463-5060
  • New puppies are popular holiday gifts for children but dog bites are common during the holiday season. Remember, pets are not toys. 
  • Keep candles well out of reach of children and far from flammable materials.
  • Avoid placing candles on moveable tables since a child can pull or push the table toward flammable materials. 
  • Children should be supervised when lighting candles. 
  • Do not carry hot beverages around children.
  • Do not hold a child in your arms while you are cooking.
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby.


  • Children must be properly restrained in strollers, high chairs or car seats.
  • Never place an infant seat on tables, countertops or car roofs. The safest place is on the floor.
  • Supervise older siblings and children who are holding an infant. They should be sitting down while doing this.
Road safety

Road safety

When driving to visit friends and relatives

  • Make sure that car seats and boosters meet approved standards, are properly installed and are the correct model for your child’s age. For specific details on car seats, click here.
  • Children under the age of 13 should not sit in the front seat because they can be seriously injured if the airbag deploys.
  • Everyone must wear his/her own seat belt. Never use one seat belt to secure two children. 
  • Adhere to traffic lights and speed limits.
  • Never use your cell phone while driving; all attention should be placed on the road.
  • Never leave a child in a car while the motor is running. In the winter, the exhaust pipe can become blocked by snow, and the idling can cause carbon monoxide poisoning leading to death.
  • Never drink and drive.
Winter sports and activities

Winter sports and activities

  • Wear standardized and well-fitted sport-specific helmets and other protective equipment.
  • Dress warmly and in layers. Change wet socks and gloves immediately to prevent frostbite
  • Check the surface of the hill and for obstacles on the path. Choose a hill designated for the activity. 
  • Avoid hills that exceed skill level. 
  • Quickly move away from the bottom of the hill to avoid a collision.
  • Make sure to receive proper skill training and instructions on the use of  winter sports equipment.

The Trauma Programs remind you to be aware of the risks, follow the recommendations and make wise choices for a happy and safe holiday season!

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Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: July 2020


Fax : 514-412-4254

Emergency Department (for patient transfer) : 514-412-4399 (fax)