Injuries & poisonings often go up during the holidays
Over the next few weeks, many of us will attend or host holiday gatherings - from Thanksgiving dinners to late-night New Year’s Eve parties. For adults they’re a good chance to have some fun and and reconnect, but if you have kids, beware: every year thousands are hurt or poisoned at gatherings like these, often from dangers that parents never even considered.
In fact, things like grabbing or chewing on ornaments and pulling on trees send approximately 14,000 kids to hospitals nationwide every year.*
“We’re often celebrating holidays at someone else’s house that might not be child-proofed, so it’s key to keep some simple hazards in mind,” says Dr. Marcel Casavant of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where children are treated every year for holiday-related injuries.
To curb injuries this holiday season, Dr. Casavant suggests that parents look at a holiday party from a kid’s perspective: they’ll quickly discover that decorations aren’t the only hazards.
“Consider when a woman leaves her purse on the floor or on a chair,” Dr. Casavant says. “An unsupervised child has free reign over the contents of that bag, which may include hazardous items for a child like cigarettes and prescription medication.”
In some places, poisonings triple around Thanksgiving and Christmas,** often because children ingest common household items like ice melting pellets, mistaking them for candy or food.
“These pellets look a lot like ice cream beads and can seem pretty familiar to kids, but when a child ingests them they can cause irritation, vomiting and burning of the mouth and the skin,” Dr. Casavant says.
Speaking of burns, each year kids are scalded by hot drinks like coffee and hot chocolate that come tumbling after a small child tugs on a tablecloth. The most dangerous types of drinks, however, are the leftovers parents may forget about the next morning.
“It’s the wine or champagne glasses left out with just a few sips left that can be really dangerous,” Dr. Casavant says. “Only a couple of sips of leftover alcohol is enough to do some damage to a child.”
If you’re attending or hosting a party this holiday season, take a moment to see the house from your kid’s level: it could put some unseen dangers into perspective and will keep your kids safe.
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**Ten Tips to Keep Your Holiday Home Fire and Injury Free, Consumer Product Safety Commission, December 2009.
Retrieved October 2010 from: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml10/10065.html (14,000 kids to ERs in November and December - due to holiday-related injuries)
**Accidental Poisonings More Abundant During Holiday Season, Oklahoma Poison Control Center, retrieved October 2010 from:
Accidental Drug Poisonings Increase for Children During Holidays, Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, retrieved October 2010 from: http://uanews.org/node/22793