Tips for a Safe Holiday Season
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
- 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 www.batptistonline.org.
If injuries do occur during the holidays, contact your physician or the
emergency department at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis by calling