Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Birthday Party Safety Tips by Vicki Lansky

Birthday parties for children can be a wonderful experience if you take the right steps to insure that your child's guests and their parents have a safe and happy time.

One of the first steps is to consider the age of your invitees. If you are throwing a party for infants or young toddlers then you will obviously have their parents in attendance too, serve these parents only finger foods, if you serve them refreshments at all, because you don't want to distract them from their most important function: watching their children! By age 3, parties work better without other parents around.

If you plan an indoor party for your small child, limit it to one room only, and childproof that room as carefully as you possibly can. Leave nothing to chance; what one bright child doesn't think of, you can be sure, another one will.

Here is a checklist that you should go through well before the big event:

1. Remove from the room any portable electrical appliances and everything breakable or sharp.

2. Block off any exits to the party room with shut doors or gates. Keep a path open to the bathroom and/or a diaper changing area, but be sure other rooms along the way are not accessible to the children.

3. If you try a game like "pin the tail on the donkey," be sure to attach tape, not tacks, to tails.

4. Skip pinatas for a few years. Toddlers and waving, swinging sticks just don't mix. Settle instead for a hunt for soft favors, but be sure everyone "finds" one.

5. For the safety of both guests and your pet, banish the dog or cat from the party.

6. Don't serve small candies, peanuts, popcorn, or even raisins. Children can pick them off the table and choke on them while running around, or even when seated, given the excitement of a party.

7. If your party is going to be outdoors, be sure you have enough adults to adequately supervise the children. No fewer than one adult per child is suggested if play in any kind of pool is planned.

8. If your party site is far from home, plan to have parents deliver their own children, unless you have enough car seats for all.

Armed with these simple guidelines you should be well on your way to a fun and safe party for your children.

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