With Christmas and other holidays fast approaching, family gatherings are going to be more common as the month progresses. The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, especially for the littlest ones in our lives – unfortunately emergency rooms are also the busiest during the holiday season.
Learn how to protect the little ones in your life from some common holiday dangers, so everyone can enjoy the season happy and healthy!
Choking and Swallowing:
- Be careful of tree ornaments, light bulbs, tinsel, etc. that can be potential choking hazards for smaller children. The rule of thumb is that if anything is too small to fit into the mouths of a toddler, it is too small for a toddler to play with.
- Be aware of food allergies. Common holiday foods, such as peanuts, popcorn, etc. can prove to be hazardous.
- Ornament hangers and/or needles from Christmas trees can cause cuts and can be painful or get stuck if a child swallows them.
- Make sure that your tree is secure and on a sturdy stand so that it does not tip over – or has the potential of being knocked over by children or pets. Keeping the tree away from heat sources such as radiators, electrical sockets, and portable space heaters may help in preventing a fire.
- Avoid using real candles on a tree. Though it make look lovely, if you forget to blow the candles out or if the tree gets too dry – it could potentially cause an unnecessary fire.
- Don’t overload indoor and/or outdoor electrical outlets.
- Practice fire safety – especially if you have a fireplace. This will ensure that everyone knows what to do just in case a fire starts.
Though this is not necessarily a topic that any parent wants to discuss, it is always wise to be prepared!
- Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, etc. are usually common decorations during the holidays. Like many plants, if ingested, they could be potentially poisonous and should be kept out of reach of children. Common symptoms of plant poisoning are: rashes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, to name a few.
- Bubble lights that contain methylene chloride can be very poisonous, if a child drinks the fluid. Snow sprays may potentially be harmful if the aerosol propellants are used improperly.
- Food poisoning is another potential hazard. Practicing food safety by washing hands, utensils, dishes, and anything else that may come into contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, raw eggs before and after use. Don’t contaminate a serving dish with raw foods. Store leftovers properly and heat them thoroughly before serving.
- Keep breakable ornaments out of the reach of young children.
- Car accidents and injuries to children actually increase during the holiday season. In order to prevent a holiday ER visit, make sure that children are buckled up securely during car rides and don’t drive if you have consumed alcohol.
- Make sure to be extra cautious while driving at nighttime on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, as there is a higher incidence of impaired driving on these days.
- If you happen to go to the snow this holiday season, make sure that you are being careful when out sledding with the kids. Sledding accidents can be very serious. Young children should be supervised and should be sledding in an area that is safe – that is free of rocky areas, steep hills, and crowded sledding areas.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t have a wonderful time with your children this holiday season. It is just about being safe and making sure that your loved ones, especially the littlest of loves, are taken care of and having fun in safe environments.