The Christmas and holiday season is a time to enjoy your family, entertain your friends and eat lots of goodies. It's not the time to visit the ER! We're all so busy at this time of year, and often when we're preoccupied our kids get into a bit of trouble. Of the 614 injuries treated in our ER between December 12, 2004, and January 1, 2005, more than half happened at home and were preventable injuries such as broken bones or head traumas from falls, chokings from swallowing small toy parts or Christmas ornaments, poisonings from ingesting things like poinsettia leaves, or burns from candles and hot liquids.
The Trauma Program at the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC urges you to take the time to make your children and teens stay safe and play safe this holiday season. The tips below will hopefully allow you and your family to start the New Year off happy and healthy.
- If you have a real Christmas tree make sure to water it frequently. Your tree will become a fire hazard if it dries out.
- When you decorate your Christmas tree make sure ornaments that are fragile or contain small parts are out of the reach of your young children.
- Make sure all of your Christmas tree, Chanukah menorah, or outdoor electric lights are in good working order. Remember to turn the lights off when you leave your house, and be careful not to overload sockets or extension cords with too many plugs.
- If you are using decorative candles and or a menorah, keep them well out of the reach of children and away from flammable materials. Supervise your children while lighting menorah candles.
- Buy gifts that are age and stage appropriate for your children. Toys with small parts that can easily be taken apart and that can be swallowed are a choking hazard.
- If a toy requires parental supervision please make sure you are on hand when your child plays with it.
- Poinsettias are poisonous if eaten so please keep them out of the reach of your children.
- While you are rushing around make sure your young children are properly restrained in strollers, high chairs or car seats. Don't leave your children unattended on counter tops, tables or car trunks even for a split second because they can easily slip or tumble off.
The Trauma Program at the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC compiled these safety tips. On behalf of everyone at the Children's, please have a happy and safe holiday season and a healthy New Year.