Keeping Kids Safe Over the Holidays

Family gatherings, special traditions, delicious treats — the holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, especially for kids. Unfortunately, for emergency room doctors it’s also one of the busiest. The following tips are aimed at protecting little ones from some common holiday hazards, so you and your family can enjoy a season that’s happy and healthy.

Safe Holiday Decorations
• Decorative holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly, poinsettias and Jerusalem cherry plants can pose potential poisoning risks. Symptoms can include rash, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Call the National Poison Center at (800) 222-1222 if you suspect poisoning.
• Snow sprays may be harmful if the aerosol propellants are used improperly.
• Small detachable pieces of holiday ornaments can cause choking hazards or injury for small children. Put those with parts that might break off and cause injury out of reach of small children.
• Lit candles should be out of reach when children are present.

Safe Holiday Feast
• Food Poisoning: Minimize potential food poisoning by washing hands, utensils, dishes, and anything else that comes in contact with raw meat, including poultry and fish, and raw eggs before and after use. Store leftovers properly and heat them thoroughly before serving.
• Alcohol poisoning: Remove all empty and partially empty cups out of reach of children. Remember, children become “drunk” much more quickly than adults, so even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous.

Holiday Tree Safety
• Live Trees: Keep your tree secured in a sturdy stand so that it doesn’t tip over and keep it away from all heat sources such as electrical outlets, radiators, and portable space heaters. Replenish the water receptacle regularly to keep tree from drying out.
• Holiday Lights: Unplug all lights, both indoor and outdoor, and extinguish all candles every night before you go to bed.

Safe Toy Shopping
• Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint.
• Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that they’ve been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
• Make sure a toy isn’t too loud for your child as it could contribute to hearing damage.