News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
CONTACT: City Communications Office, 816-513-1349
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 2, 2010
City encourages holiday safety and awareness
The City of Kansas City, Mo. urges families to protect themselves during the holiday season and offers safety advice.
“The holidays are meant to be a happy time spent with family, celebrating long-held traditions,” said Amy Roberts, R.N., B.S.N, manager of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and Healthy Homes Initiative. “However, some holiday behaviors may affect your health or lead to injuries unless you take precautions.”
The following steps should be taken to help prevent injuries and illness:
Never leave burning candles unattended. Candles can be forgotten or knocked over, causing a fire.
Keep holiday decorations away from children. If you have a tree, use child-safe, non-breakable ornaments on the lower limbs, and use upper limbs for more fragile decorations, or put them on a shelf out of reach. Broken ornaments can cause injury, and Christmas lights often contain lead and other chemicals. Never allow children to lick or chew decorations. Wash your hands after decorating.
Do not leave hot or cold food sitting out for long time periods. Hot or cold food that has been left at room temperature for four hours or longer should be thrown away.
Keep plants out of the reach of children. Children can become ill from eating or mouthing poinsettias, mistletoe and some houseplants. Household pets may also become ill from chewing or eating plants or holiday food that is not specifically made for animals.
Use caution when heating your home during the cold weather. A gas stove or a gas/kerosene space heater releases toxic gases that may build up inside a home and cause illness, and electric space heaters may start fires. If you are having difficulty with gas or electric utilities during the cold weather, contact the United Way by dialing 2-1-1, and they may be able to help you locate agencies that provide utilities assistance.
Do not leave purses where children can find them; children may accidently swallow medication found in the purse or luggage of a visiting relative.
Shovel and sweep walkways and sidewalks, and keep paths clear. Snow and ice can cause pedestrians to slip. Falls can also occur inside a home from cluttered stairs and pathways. Make sure stairs and walking areas are well lit and clear of tripping hazards.
Keep toys and other gifts age-appropriate. Younger children can be hurt by playing with older siblings’ toys. Small pieces and sharp parts may cause choking or injury. Check the packaging for age ranges. Supervise younger children who are visiting.
After the celebration, look around for used wrapping paper or leftover parts from gifts. They may be a tripping or fire hazard.
"As Mayor I hate to hear when a holiday celebration turns into a tragedy," said Mayor Mark Funkhouser. "I urge all Kansas City residents to use extra caution when dealing with the issues raised above. Above all I want every resident of Kansas City to enjoy a safe, enjoyable holiday season."
For more information about the Healthy Homes Initiative or to schedule an appointment to test a toy or product for lead, call the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 816-513-6048.
Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, 816-840-2548 (pager). Follow the Health Department on Facebook and Twitter, www.facebook.com/kcmohealthdept and www.twitter.com/kcmohealthdept.