Health Spotlight: ‘Tis the Season for Safety
The holidays are full of joy and excitement, especially for children, but this time of year, parents should be extra cautious about home safety. With the holidays, a variety of seasonal toys, decorations and other items enter the home and may present hazards to your family. Dr. Peter Ronco, pediatric hospitalist at Indiana University Health North Hospital, offers some ways to keep your family safe.
Toying With Toys
Make sure toys are safe for little ones.
- Avoid choosing toys with sharp edges, cords or small parts. If a toy is tiny enough to fit through a toilet paper roll, it can cause choking.
- Remove strings and ribbons from toys before you give them to little ones to prevent strangulation.
- For kids under 10, choose battery-operated toys, rather than toys that need an outlet.
- Only adults or older children should replace light bulbs in toys to ensure proper wattage.
- Teach older kids to keep their toys away from little siblings.
Decorating the house can be a fun family activity, but don’t let it become a potential danger.
- If you set up a Christmas tree, position it away from fireplaces and radiators. Keep live trees well-watered so they don’t become a fire hazard. Artificial trees should be fire resistant.
- Avoid ornaments and decorations that resemble food or are breakable. To hang decorations, use step stools, rather than chairs or other furniture.
- String outdoor lights using hooks or insulated staples, not nails.
- Clean up all used gift wrap soon after opening presents — it may pose a choking or fire hazard. Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace.
- Lock matches and lighters in a high cabinet.
Entertaining, Made Safer
During cooking and mealtime, keep hot foods away from the edges of tables to avoid burns. Clean up food and drinks immediately after a party, and when making the rounds to holiday gatherings be sure everyone is buckled. Kids ages 12 and younger should ride in the back seat.
While you keep an eye out for holiday hazards, don’t forget about the usual suspects. For instance, don’t let your kids run on hardwood floors with stockings on their feet and don’t leave plastic bags where children can reach them.