Don’t forget safety for children during the holidays

  • Dec. 15, 2008 9:00 a.m.

If you are a parent with young children, take extra precautions to ensure a safe and happy holiday season. Choking, poisoning, and fireplace burns are serious dangers for young children, particularly at this time of year.Parents may not be aware of how celebrations can be hazardous. Safe Start offers the following tips to prevent injuries during the holidays.Trees and Decorations. A child learns about objects by touching, feeling, and tasting. Tree lights can be appealing for young children to put in their mouths, which can cause severe burns. Young children can also pull trees onto themselves when they try to pull on decorative ornaments or try to pull themselves to a standing position using the bottom branches. Be aware that trimmings that look like candy or food may provide an extra appeal to young children to put the item in their mouths, which can cause choking.. Make sure your Christmas tree is secure.. Never use lit candles on a tree or near evergreens. Use non-flammable lights and decorations.. Avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.. Keep removable parts of ornaments out of children’s reach.Fireplace Safety. The glass in front of a gas fireplace can get as hot as 450-600 degrees F, and it takes more than 45 minutes for a fireplace to cool off after use. Young children can get severe burns to their hands..Avoid using gas fireplaces when young children are near, or turn them off well in advance of children visiting. . Purchase specially-designed fireplace screens and guards. Ensure they are secured.Toy Safety. Small pieces can become choking hazards, and batteries can cause choking as well as internal chemical burns.. Inspect toys to make sure they are in good working order. .If a toy uses small batteries, ensure curious toddlers cannot get access to them.. Select toys for your child’s recommended age level. Most toys have age recommendations listed. These are based on safety hazards, not how smart your child is.A New TV? More than 100 children are brought to emergency rooms in Canada each year as a result of TV sets falling on them. Ensure your TV is placed on low, sturdy furniture. . Use anchors or straps to secure furniture to the wall.. Make sure children never sit too close to a TV. They may accidentally pull the TV onto themselves.Visiting Others. The homes you visit may not be childproofed. Each year, curious toddlers choke or get poisoned by exploring and getting their hands on items not meant for children.. Alcoholic drinks, hard candies, and nuts should be kept well out of young children’s reach. Find a safe playing spot away from these items.. Keep young children away from plants. Plants like mistletoe berries, holly, and poinsettia are either poisonous or can cause irritation if touched or swallowed. . Bring safe toys and foods for your child when visiting.. When entertaining at home, make the indoor space a smoke-free environment.. Designate a safe space for visitors’ purses and coats. Place purses on the top shelf of a cupboard or on top of a fridge to prevent poisoning by swallowing pills, cigarettes, or other small items in purses.

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