Holiday Safety for kids: How to stay out of the ER!

Rudolph & HerbieHere are some helpful tips to keep your family safe this holiday season!

Trees and Decorations

  • Make sure your artificial tree is “fire resistant”.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.
  • Twinkle lights and ornaments are very tempting for toddlers to touch, grab, or eat! Avoid ornaments that look like food. And, keep your eyes on your little one whenever he is in the vicinity of the tree.

Lights, Candles, and Fireplaces

  • Make sure all the twinkle light bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, causing an electrocution risk.
  • Opt for LED candle lights instead of real candles. The effect is similar without the safety risk of an open flame.
  • Don’t get lost in the conversation and egg nog. If you have a lit fireplace, observe your child at all times.

Toy Safety

Beware of ELF STEW.

  • E: Avoid toys requiring an electrical outlet. These are risky for burns and shocks. Opt for battery-operated toys instead.
  • L: Avoid loud toys that are “intended for outdoor use”. That’s code for REALLY LOUD!
  • F: Flying objects can end up in a child’s eye or cause a head injury.
  • S: Sharp edges on poorly made toys can cause cuts and abrasions.
  • T: Tiny parts are a choking or health hazard. Yes, even your child may attempt to eat or place a small object into a nostril or ear.
  • E: Emotional hazards lurk in those violent video games.
  • W: Wrong toy for the age of the child. Even if your child is a prodigy, toys above his age level may be a safety hazard.

Happy Visiting

  • Remind house guests that you have a young child in the home. Be sure they keep their medications safely out of a child’s reach (and not out on the bathroom or kitchen counter!)
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.  Keep an eye out for danger spots.
  • Keep a list with important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222.
  • Try to stick to your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.

2010 Holiday Safety Tips, courtesy of Dr Ari Brown and the American Academy of Pediatrics