Tips to keep kids safe during the holidays

Nearly 50,000 children are injured to the point where they require medical intervention every year during the winter holiday season.  The vast majority of these injuries can be avoided by dissuading dangerous activities and behaviors and taking a few preventative measures.

A 2010 article from Pediatrics by D’Ippolito et al, highlights many common injuries seen during the holiday season in children less than 19 years old.  Here are highlights from this epidemiologic study on pediatric injuries as well as other tips to keep your children safe.

Eye injuries are very common during the Christmas season as a result of direct injury from Christmas tree needles scratching, irritating, and possibly penetrating the eye.

  • Children should be supervised while decorating the tree.
  • Do not allow children to play in or under the branches of the tree.

There are also thousands of young children who have been injured and even killed from swallowing small ornaments and holiday decorations.  Keep all small ornaments and decorations out of the reach of little children.

  • Infants and young children should always be supervised while playing.
  • Kiss under, don’t eat the mistletoe!
    • Mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum) is a toxic plant and ingestion can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Call the poison control center and seek medical attention if your child eats mistletoe leaves or berries. United States Poison Control Center phone # 1-800-222-1222.

Happy Holidays & Stay Safe

  • Never allow children to play with or light candles. Place all lit candles, menorahs, or kinaras out of reach of young children.
  • Do not allow children to hang decorations while unsupervised if it involves them standing on a ladder or chair.
  • Many infants are brought to the Emergency Department the morning of Christmas because they swallow small toy parts or twist-ties used to secure gifts. Keep kids safe and have them help with clean up: have kids throw all wrapping paper and twist-ties away before opening the next gift!

Don’t let them lick the spoon…

  • Batter which contains raw eggs should not be consumed as it can harbor potentially harmful bacteria such as E. Coli.
  • Holiday foods can be choking hazards – cut them into small pieces for young children. Common foods which cause choking: whole grapes, hot dogs, popcorn, nuts, hard candies, and marshmallows.  More safety tips can be found in our summer guide to safety.

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Joyous Kwanzaa

To all our readers: Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

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