Children’s Party Safety Mistakes

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Birthday parties are some of the most fun and exciting occasions that kids experience. Unfortunately, a high-energy party atmosphere with its activities, bright colors, fun foods and presents can also present some dangers without a little planning and preparation. Make sure your precious guests are protected with these simple party safety tips.

Party Safety Mistakes Parents Make

The first step toward hosting a safe birthday party is following a few simple safety measures and doing some age appropriate childproofing in your home and yard. Common children’s party safety mistakes:

  • Bringing your child to a party if they are sick and/or contagious.
  • Forgetting to walk through your home and yard looking for all breakable, sharp, electric or otherwise harmful materials and substances.
  • Forgetting to set up baby gates for very young children.
  • Not having a fully stocked first aid kit within easy access.
  • Not disposing of popped balloons immediately.
  • Not removing candles and matches immediately after cake candles are blown out.

Common Party Food Mistakes

Elaborate cakes, cheesy pizza and other party foods are definitely a major part of the fun during birthday celebrations. To make sure food goes down easy and doesn't bite back later:

  • Be aware of food choking hazards, and keep these items off the menu for young children. Some common foods that pose choking hazards for kids include hot dogs, grapes, raisins, carrots, nuts, cheese cubes, hard candy, popcorn and even apples.
  • Inquire about food allergies on the party invitations to prevent any child being served food that would make him or her sick.
  • Use safe food handling and storage procedures such as refrigerating perishables promptly.
  • Give everyone the opportunity to wash his or her hands before eating or touching food.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates on food packages so that spoiled ingredients don't find their way into your party food. Children can be more sensitive to harmful foods, and may experience a negative reaction before an adult would.
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Safe Games and Activities For Children’s Parties

Keeping kids busy helps the party stay under control and avoids wild chaos that could lead to someone getting hurt. Here are some tips to help you safely manage your birthday party games and activities:

  • Inflatable bouncing areas: Make sure you are renting safe equipment from a reputable company. Before kids go into the jumping area, they'll have to take off their shoes and any sharp accessories such as belts, glasses or jewelry that could injure another child. Only let a few kids go in at a time, and as an extra precaution, give little kids and big kids separate bouncing sessions. Additionally, if winds pick up or the bouncer starts to deflate, calmly help kids to exit.
  • Ball pits: Follow all the guidelines you would for a bouncing area and if possible, rent from a company that supplies anti-microbial balls.
  • Party games: Have an adult supervising all games to keep everything fun, fair and safe. If you have a "pin the tail on the donkey" game scheduled, use sticky tape rather than ever using sharp pins or tacks.
  • Swimming: When kids are in the water, you'll need extra adult supervision. Have at least two adults act as lifeguards during swim time; with the youngest children, you may want as many as one adult per child. Before letting kids in the water, take a few minutes to go over water safety rules.
  • Piñatas: To make sure this activity doesn't end in disaster, keep an adult in charge of the bat at all times. Give each child a specific number of swings at the piñata, and then have him or her return the bat to the adult, who will hand it to the next child. Have other children stand safely out of the swinging range of the bat.
  • Animals: Traveling petting zoos add an earthy charm to birthday parties. To keep kids and animals safe, show kids how to feed animals with a flat open hand, only feed them the food they are supposed to eat and have kids wash their hands after playing with animals. Check credentials and references to insure you're renting from a reputable company, and be sure to supervise kids' contact with animals.
  • Entertainers: Take the time to check references to make sure you're hiring someone who is safe around kids. Additionally, make sure you have a good idea of what the entertainer's act entails and that it won't frighten or offend your guests.

Keeping an Eye on Everyone

Making sure all kids are properly supervised is one of the best strategies to keep party guests safe and happy. Rather than going it alone:

  • Around the house: Enlist the help of enough other adults to maintain a good child to adult ratio. For very young (or very high-energy) kids, you may want to have as many as one adult per every two guests present.
  • In Kitchens and swimming pools: These places contain lots of opportunities for accidents. Even if the party action is elsewhere, a child could easily wander off and cut himself or fall into the water. Always have adults designated to supervise these areas.
  • At party venues: If you're hosting the birthday party at a venue, check credentials and references to insure that it has properly trained employees and safety/first aid provisions.

A little extra safety planning brings the peace of mind that all your guests will enjoy a magical atmosphere at your child's birthday party with no dangerous surprises.

Also see Decoration Ideas For A Kids’ Beach Party.

Last Updated: March 27, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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