Holidays are meant for sharing, spending time with family and friends, and celebrating traditions. Although injuries are not necessarily more common during the Christmas holidays, keeping our kids safe will keep the holidays festive and maximize our enjoyment.
Studies focused on injuries during the Christmas season have reported eye trauma from Christmas trees, choking from Christmas ornaments, ingestion of toxic decorative plants, and falls associated with decorations. Here are some pointers to keep our kids safe during the holidays:
- Secure and stabilize the Christmas tree so it doesn’t topple when pulled.
- Keep heavy ornaments and stocking hangers, out of reach so they don’t fall and injure young children.
- Keep electric wires secure to prevent tripping
- Keep Christmas trees well-watered and at least 3 feet away from heat sources, and make sure electric tree lights are properly wired. Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Refer to holiday fire safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration.
- Always supervise young children around fireplaces. They can touch the screen and burn their fingers.
- For households with young children, avoid hanging small ornaments, and check that tree and shrub lights are secure, to prevent choking.
- Keep decorative poisonous plants such as poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly, out of young children’s reach. The poinsettia sap can cause skin and mouth irritation or vomiting. Eating a large amount of mistletoe berries can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart, and respiratory rate, and rarely, shock or even death. Eating holly berries can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If your child ingests any of these plants, call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) immediately for advice.
- When it is cold, always dress children warmly, especially when shopping with them outdoors.
- During parties, ask about your guests’ food allergies. Request that guests with multiple food allergies bring alternate “safe” food from home.
Check out other holiday health and safety tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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