There are plenty of things we do not consider when throwing a Christmas party. Sure, we trim our tree, bake Christmas cookies, and place gorgeous wreaths and displays around the home. But we definitely don’t always consider some of the scarier hazards that come with holiday cheer. The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, especially for kids. But unfortunately, for emergency department doctors it's also one of the busiest.
If you have young children, are buying gifts for children, or have invited them into your home this holiday season, Dr. Stephen Jones, medical director of emergency services and trauma at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Harry Applebaum, pediatric trauma medical director at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, and the staff of caregivers there are now offering the following precautions to ensure your holiday is a safe one:
Holiday Choking/Strangulation Hazards
• Ribbons on gifts and tree ornaments should be shorter than 7 inches. A child could wrap a longer strand of ribbon around their neck. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
• Children under age 3 can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age 3 cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter (if it fits in a toilet paper roll, it's too small) and 2 1/4 inches long.
• Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.
• Avoid tree trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
Holiday Party Hazards
• Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
• Watch children around space heaters or the fireplace. Do not leave a child unattended.
• Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Always keep an eye on your child.
• An adult, who is not drinking alcohol, should be assigned to supervise children at all times. Parents can take 30-minute to one-hour shifts throughout the party to supervise children or hire a responsible baby sitter to monitor children.