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The Informed Parent

Holiday Precautions

by Shanna R. Cox, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Dec. 12, 2005

It's that time of year again. Families are in the midst of readying their homes and families for the holiday season. With so much excitement, the risks that are present in many common decorations and preparations may be forgotten. Here's a quick list to help prepare your home and family for celebration and safety!

  • Keep delicate ornaments out of reach of children and animals that may want to bite them rather than admire them.
  • Consider gating your tree if you have infants or toddlers in your home. This is to prevent them from pulling the tree down on themselves, causing injury with lights or ornaments.
  • Lights should not be left on constantly. Consider using a timer to turn them on for a brief time each day for your family's enjoyment.
  • Candles pose significant fire and burn risks, particularly during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Consider alternatives that are less risky.
  • Small ornaments, treats, and lights are choking hazards. Do not let children walk or run with these items in hand or mouth.
  • Remember the true meaning of the holiday season. Spend time creating and supporting your family's traditions and values.
  • Ribbon and string used for packages and gifts pose strangulation and choking hazards. Keep them away from curious hands.
  • Fireplaces and fire pits need to be respected from a healthy distance.
  • Travel wisely. Wash hands frequently to prevent illness. Keep a hand on your child to restrain him from wandering or being lost in a crowd.
  • Respect your elders. Think twice about bringing sick children to see older relatives who may be more susceptible to complications from illness.
  • Start healthy habits now. Holidays are notorious for putting on the pounds. Balance holiday treats with family exercise and healthy meals.
  • Dispose of trees and wreaths properly to prevent fire hazards.
  • Stay healthy. Remember the holidays are not a time to forget prescriptive medications you or your child need on a daily basis. Be assured that your supply is adequate and available at home or while traveling.

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