Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Health Department Shares Safety Advice for Holiday Season

As the holiday season accelerates, malls, other retailers and grocery stores are more crowded than usual with busy shoppers. Whether you are about celebrate a holiday in the coming weeks or not, the Marion County Public Health Department asks that you keep the following in mind when going out to shop (and the rest of the year, too):

  • Keep careful track of your bags and other packages. If you leave something behind, it could get stolen or discarded.
  • Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package.
  • Be sure not to buy more than you can carry. If your packages are making it hard for you to walk upright or see, ask a store employee to help you carry them to your car.
  • Double check that you have your credit cards and check book after you pay for your items.

If you go shopping with children during the next several weeks, keep the following advice in mind for everyone's safety:

  • Ensure that any children with you know your cell phone number. Give cards with contact information to any who don't.
  • Make a plan with children in case you get separated. Determine a central meeting place.
  • Go over the dangers of strangers with them so that they know who not to talk to or follow.

At home, make certain that any holiday decorations do not create electrical hazards or increase the potential for tripping or falls. Households with small children should ensure that holiday decorations are secured to prevent injury. Smaller items that could create a choking hazard should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

The holiday toy-buying season is underway, and as decisions are being made and gifts selected, the Marion County Public Health Department reminds gift buyers to consider health and safety before making purchases.

Gifts that promote exercise, movement and motivate children to be active help create healthy options to more sedentary options. Activities that encourage families to spend time together are also important when choosing holiday gifts.

Although the majority of toys are safe, they can become dangerous if misused or if they fall into the hands of children who are too young to play with them.

"Young children are especially at risk when it comes to toys because they can easily choke on small toys or even small parts," says Serifatu Walton, injury prevention specialist for the health department. "Parents should consider whether the toy is appropriate for the child's age and whether the gift requires protective gear accessories such as helmets and knee pads," said Walton.