In the midst of joyous family fun, keep in mind the hazards children may unknowingly come into contact with. The pediatric experts at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital unwrap a dozen tips to help you keep your little ones safe:
1. Prevent food-related burns.
Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables where curious tots can reach them.
2. Clean up immediately after a holiday party.
A toddler can choke on leftover food or may come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
3. Dispose of all wrapping paper, bows, bags and ribbons as soon as gifts are opened.
Young children can choke on or suffocate with these items.
4. Avoid decorations that are sharp or break easily.
Keep small decorations or those that resemble candy or food out of reach of children – they may try to swallow them.
5. If setting up a tree in your home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.
Make sure trees and other large decorations don’t block doorways or areas of heavy traffic in your home.
6. Keep in mind that homes you visit may not be childproof.
Identify all danger spots, such as unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning products, stairways or hot radiators
7. Keep an eye on candles.
Lit candles pose a fire and burn hazard and must be out of reach. However unlit candles in glass holders also can cause injuries if the glass shatters when it’s dropped.
8. Try to keep to your child’s usual sleeping and eating schedule.
Sticking to routines can help reduce stress for the whole family, helping everyone enjoy the holidays.
9. Travel with a list of emergency phone numbers.
Include your child’s pediatrician and the nearest poison center.
10. Make sure your little ones ride securely in the appropriate-sized child safety seat.
In cold weather, children in these seats should wear thin layers with a blanket over the top of the harness straps, not a thick coat.
11. Make sure everyone rides securely.
Adults and older kids should always wear seatbelts – no exceptions.
12. Drive sober.
Drivers should never be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Bonus tip: Make sure holly berries, mistletoe, poinsettias and other holiday plants are safely displayed out of reach to avoid causing illness from accidental ingestion or allergic skin reaction caused by exposure to plant sap.
Visit LVHN.org/children to learn more about caring for children and to find a doctor.