From shopping and baking to decorating, life gets hectic during the holidays. But regardless, put this first on your “to-do” list: Childproof the house!

Don’t spend your holidays in the emergency room. Take a few precautionary steps now to protect your children so they, too, can enjoy the season:

When your kids smell the aroma of baking goodies, they naturally want to be in the kitchen. Unless you can supervise them carefully, keep them out. The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in your home.


But just in case your kids do sneak into the kitchen when you’re not looking:

• Unplug electrical appliances, wrap up the cords and put them away. Also, place covers over all electrical outlets. Both cords and outlets are sources of electric shock.

• Put guards on stove knobs so your children cannot turn them on when you’re not looking.

As you know, children can get hurt in any room of the house, not just the kitchen. So for their protection:


• Don’t let children under four have hard candies, nuts or similar seasonal foods. Hard, round foods such as candies, nuts, grapes, popcorn, raw carrots and even raisins can get lodged in children’s throats and block the passage of air.

• Poinsettia leaves are not fatal if swallowed, but can cause a skin rash and severe upset stomachs. If a child ingests any holiday plants, call 911 immediately.

During the holidays, you should also take extra care to protect those ‘kids’ who have four legs and a tail. Pets are susceptible to many of the same holiday dangers as children. Take the same precautions in the holiday season to protect your pet as you do to protect your children.

Some of the safety tips on keeping your children safe at home were provided by the National Safe Kids Campaign. For more information visit


For more home-safety tips, contact or visit

Karen Nakamura is executive vice president/CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.