GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The 2020 holiday season is here, but it’s going to be a totally different experience under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every year the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), as part of its annual calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness about safe holiday experiences for the entire family.
Mask should be worn over your nose and mouth and should be properly secured under your chin. The wearing of mask is extremely important as it offers some protection to you and are also meant to protect those around you, in case you are unknowingly infected with the virus that COVID-19.
Maintaining a safe distance of two meters (six feet) from others especially persons who are at a higher risk of getting very sick; wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol content; cover coughs and sneezes, and wash or clean your hands after every episode.
One of the key points this holiday season should be to make sure that whatever gift you buy for a child this year’s holiday season, make sure that it's safe – Shop Smart, Shop Safe. Check the safety information of toys before you purchase them.
Before purchasing or giving any gift, particularly any intended for a child, double check to make sure the gifts does not pose a hazard or put the child at risk of danger. Carefully read the safety instructions and conditions attached to the gift and ensure that it is for the correct age group.
Here are some safety tips for holiday season shopping: select toys suitable for a child's age, abilities, skills and interest level; for infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard.
Avoid toys with sharp edges and points, especially for children under age eight; do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age eight; read the labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide in your holiday shopping.
Magnets — For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
Small Parts — For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
Ride-on Toys — Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should always be sized to fit and worn when operating the aforementioned. Help instil safety discipline.
Projectile Toys — Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and sling shots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.
Chargers and Adapters — Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.
One of the most important gifts of all to give a child is time spent with you as a parent/guardian this holiday season. As we prepare to celebrate the holidays during this pandemic, let us be mindful and stay close to home with immediate family and limit interactions in small social/family bubbles. As virtual celebrations become a new way of life, let us collectively work on ensuring a safe and healthy society as 2020 comes to an end.
Shop Smart, Shop in a Safe and Healthy manner observing all preventive measures including COVID-19. Let us together celebrate the holidays safely and protecting others.