Deck the halls carefully

Posted On December 10, 2006

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Christmas Season leaves kids vulnerable to mishaps.

Along with the Christmas Holidays comes a special, seasonal bag of risks, and not just of the overeating, drinking variety. When it’s time to deck the halls, think of strings of glass bulbs, tinsel and lavish dinner-table spreads, all in different places of your house. Pets and young children are particularly vulnerable to all sorts of minor mishaps that can quickly quash the Christmas Spirit.

For children, the Christmas Season is a time when you’ll see a big increase in minor accidents and injuries, for a lot of different reasons. You can’t point to any one thing and say, “Now we’re going to see this”, but the occasion itself presents the opportunity for certain injuries to occur.

Generally, hospital doctors say, be wary in the kitchen, a holiday hot spot for activity, both cooking and socializing.

Cooking with family members, if they’ve got young children, they need to be aware of the kids around them. When you have a large gathering of people gathered in the kitchen, people will trip over a child, or just spill some hot food on an infant playing around on the floor.

Cooling trays, especially ones filled with, say, sugary deliciousness, may be a temptation unthwarted by the threat of third-degree burns. You may have trays and trays of cookies cooling, and if the kid reaches up on the counter, then the child burns his or her hand. If there are kids running in and out all the time, sometimes, they just don’t see that the oven door gets opened to check the turkey.

During a libation-filled season, doctors exhort smart decision making, especially the importance of a designated teetotaler, and not just when it comes to driving.

People shouldn’t be drinking and cooking, doctors say. If they drink too much alcohol, it can lead them to make stupid mistakes, spilling something, which could burn them or someone else.

Decorating decisions can also have repercussions on toddlers, who tend to grab at fragile ornaments and bulbs, or pretty much anything in reach.

Doctors at hospitals often see people coming in with cuts. Sometimes, it’s kids who have cuts to their hands or their mouths. Sometimes, a child will bite a bulb, because they think it’s like a ball.

The old-style lightbulbs heat up to sizzling degrees. Those, along with a rise in the use of decorative candles, lead to more emergency room visits for burns. Keep hot bulbs and flames out of children’s reach, and make sure electrical cords aren’t frayed. Hot lights on a dry tree can also spark fires.

That’s something that comes in after Christmas, when the tree’s been up for a while. Even if they’re routinely watered, by a certain point the tree stops taking in water. Which brings us to the stuff under the trees, what experts consider the biggest kid holiday safety risk.

Doctors think that the real big thing is the smart choices on toys with infants. That’s something doctors see a big problem with, with kids being in the ER because of choking on something that wasn’t a safe toy to be using.

Even wrapping paper can present a problem, if swallowed. Young kids have a tendency to put anything in their mouths. For example, do stuffed toy-animals have button-type eyes that can be easily popped off? Then, adults need to get the kids age-appropriate and safe toys. Even with older children, somebody needs to be aware of the child’s level of responsibility, when it comes to toy gifting.

Think about what you’re getting them, before you get that toy. Does the child really know how to use this toy in a reasonable manner? A lot of these toys can be very fun when used properly. A lot of them can be dangerous. Do act as a responsible adult.

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