Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

Mandy Scherer
Public Relations Coordinator
Phone: (901) 227-3527
Pager: (901) 227-7243 #3176
Ayoka Pond
Public Relations Manager
Phone: 901-227-3503
Cell: 901-581-5637

Each year, hospital emergency departments treat about 12,500 people for injuries, including falls, cuts and electrical shock, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. Children are especially vulnerable, as they’re often attracted to the bright lights and colorful trees and decorations, but they don’t recognize the danger associated with these items. The holidays are just a fun and exciting time to them.

“All too often, people get caught up in decorations and overlook the potential hazards,” said Cynthia Cross Thomas, M.D., pediatrician at the pediatric emergency department at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. “Too many people, including children, sustain injuries that could be prevented with some extra precautions.”

Parents must take extra precautions with the safety of their children, especially when visiting family and friends. Often, their homes may not be childproof. Also, outdoor activities, such as sledding and skiing, can lead to injury in children and adults.

Consider the following tips to help ensure a safe holiday season:

  • Use holiday lighting only after it has been examined for broken sockets or frayed wires, and read labels to check for indoor or outdoor certification.
  • Never leave candles unattended, and keep them away from Christmas trees, other decorations and wrapping paper. And place candles out of the reach of children and where they can’t be easily knocked over.
  • Remove decorations from the mantle before lighting a fire, and keep a screen in front of lit fireplaces.
  • Decorate only with flame-retardant materials and those that are not sharp or breakable. Also, avoid using decorations that look like food because children might try to eat them.
  • If you choose a live Christmas tree, select a fresh one and secure it in a sturdy stand. Keep it away from heat sources and water it daily
  • Beware of holiday treats, such as nuts or hard candy, that may pose as a choking hazard to young children.
  • Buckle up during the holidays when people are traveling more than ever, and use proper child safety restraints.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area, and test the alarms frequently.
  • During family gatherings, keep purses in a safe place, as they contain small items and medications that may be dangerous to children
  • Also, remember to store firearms in a safe place. Remind relatives who don’t have small children about the importance of this, as well.

Above all, remember to continually look for and eliminate potential danger spots near candles, fireplaces, trees and electrical connections. With some extra safety measures, parents can help ensure their family will enjoy another holiday season together. For more information on staying safe during the holiday season, please visit

If injuries do occur during the holidays, contact your physician or the emergency department at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis by calling (800) 4-BAPTIST.


Daily Bread