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Unwrapping Common Childhood Holiday Dangers

childhood holiday dangers

Jingle all the way… to urgent care.

KinderMender recently treated a young patient with a shiny, red nose. It wasn’t Rudolph, but a 5-year old boy who became so excited about seeing Santa Claus at the mall, that he wedged one of the jingle bells on Good Old Saint Nick’s outfit into his nasal cavity.

Fortunately, our doctors extracted the bell and the family’s holiday plans are back on track.

But with an estimated 250 injuries per day, the holidays have become one of the busiest times for emergency rooms and urgent care centers across the country.

Children, unfortunately, tend to lead the sleigh in this regard.

In other words, you’d better watch out for these childhood holiday dangers:

  • Stuck or Swallowed Objects: Like the aforementioned jingle bell, the yuletide season is stuffed to the gills with trinkets and toys that can be… well, stuffed to the gills. You name it: ornaments, baubles, bulbs, and décor. All of the things that make the holidays sparkle and shine. Unfortunately, so many of these treasures can turn into choking and/or lodged object hazards. Keep an eye out for the following, particularly if you have toddlers or infants:
    • Icicles
    • Tinsel
    • Christmas tree ornaments
    • Hangers/hooks
    • Angel hair
    • Pine needles
    • Toys, toys, toys

    Two items in particular – lithium batteries (button and/or watch) and magnets should prompt an immediate visit to the emergency room if swallowed, as their effects on the body are potentially lethal.

  • Electric shock: From the tree to that animatronic snowman that Salsa dances, the holidays are tangled with plenty of wires leading to plenty of outlets. Be sure to inspect all cords, and only use those that are intact, with no bare or frayed wires. Blocking off access to the tree – and the wall outlets – can also help to ward off any overcurious kiddies (and pets).
  • Poisoning – Poinsettias are pretty, but they’re also toxic. Make your children aware of the dangers of this perennial holiday centerpiece – in addition to other greenhouse staples such as mistletoe, holly, and Jerusalem cherry – and display up and out of the reach of smaller kids this Christmas.
  • Less common – but no less dangerous – toxins include various spray-on and faux snows, and the bright, inviting liquid that fills bubble lights.

    Signs that your child may have ingested something poisonous include:

    If you believe your child may have consumed something toxic, contact KinderMender immediately, or call the National Poison Center at (800) 222-1222.

  • Alcohol – It does not take many sips from discarded cocktail glasses to do serious damage to a child. Because of their body weight, children get drunker faster, and that can lead to alcohol poisoning. If you decide to imbibe while children are present, make sure that an adult is charged with the prompt removal of empty or partially empty glasses and bottles.

All of these terrifying scenarios, and we haven’t even mentioned the myriad fire hazards associated with harboring a live tree in your home, or the trips and falls that so often occur due to kids partaking in holiday horseplay – or the risk of broken glass bulbs, or hot burners on stovetops, or Aunt Martha’s heart medication that was left, unguarded, and within swiping distance…

Such childhood holiday dangers are enough to make any parent crawl back under the covers and not resurface until Groundhog’s Day.

But, wait. Take a breath. Smell a pine tree. Have some egg nog.

While they may be amplified at this time of year, childhood dangers exist every day, regardless of the season.

The important thing is to be cognizant of the risks, vigilant in taking the necessary precautions, and, of course, aware that KinderMender’s doctors are on call every day throughout December and into the New Year.

Here's What Parents Say

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