Premises Liability in the Holiday Season

During holiday season, it is important to be aware of safety precautions you can take to protect yourself and your children from harm. Gatherings where small children will be present can easily lead to premises liability claims. Many conditions that are hazardous to small children are ignored by adults, particularly during the holidays.

Vigilance is the best tool for keeping children from harm, but it is not always possible to watch your children every moment of the day. During the holidays, children are often left to play in unfamiliar surroundings. Christmas trees and other un-anchored objects can be pulled down onto children, causing serious injury. Holiday decorations can be choking hazards. Candles can cause burn injuries. Holiday lights can choke, strangle or electrocute small children. Defective toys can harm children in any number of way

As always, the threat of injury should not rob us of our ability to enjoy the holidays. If you are visiting a friend or relative, take the time to review the surroundings for potential hazards. Never assume your child can’t or won’t get into trouble. Understand that your hosts, if they do not have small children, may have dangerous conditions in their home that they have never considered. It is difficult for adults to identify all the ways a child can come to harm through simple curiosity.

Playpens and child-proof gates are simple measures you can use to protect your child when travelling. The steps you and your hosts take to protect children from harm can allow you to have an enjoyable holiday season, without the fear of an in-home accident.

Source: Medill Reports, “Deck the halls, and childproof them too,” by Natalie Brunell and Zack Aldrich, 16 November 2011