Holiday Safety Christmas is a wonderful
time, filled with joy and celebration.
It is also a time of increased risk for children. During the holidays, children
are more likely to be exposed to: choking hazards, toy hazards, electrical
hazards, food hazards, decoration hazards, poisoning hazards, and other hazards.
Injuries to children often occur when there is a lack of adequate planning and
supervision. Most holiday injuries to children are preventable, so always
supervise your child! Here are some safety tips for protecting children during
1. Think large when selecting toys for children younger than 3 years old.
Make sure that all toys and toy parts are larger than your child's mouth to
2. Children can be seriously injured or killed by inhaling, swallowing, or
choking on small objects, such as small toy parts, marbles, or small balls.
3. Keep uninflated or broken balloons away from children. A child under
age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.
1. Throw away all toy packaging right away so that it doesn't become
become a choking or suffocation hazard.
2. Make sure that no part of a toy can break off and be swallowed by a
3. Don't buy toys with metal parts for a baby or toddler. Watch out for
toys with sharp points or edges.
4. Keep batteries away from children, since they are toxic if swallowed.
Batteries are also a choking hazard for small children.
5. Remember that any ball with a diameter up to one and three-quarters of
an inch can easily cause choking in a child.
6. Avoid buying toys that shoot small objects into the air, since they
often result in eye injuries. These arrows, darts, or pellets are also a
choking hazard for young children. Each year, about 25,000 children are
treated for injuries caused by BB guns and pellet guns.
7. Avoid buying toys that make loud or shrill noises.
8. Avoid items that could cause poisoning. Buy crayons, markers, and paint
sets that are labeled nontoxic.
9. A toy chest without a lid is the safest choice for toy storage. A toy
chest can hurt a child's fingers or hands if the lid closes suddenly. If a
toy chest has a lid, it should have safe hinges that it can stay open in any
position. A small child can suffocate if trapped inside of a closed toy
chest. The chest should also have ventilation holes to prevent suffocation
if a child becomes trapped inside.
1. Lock up household cleaning products. The top two categories of
childhood poisonings include household products and cosmetics.
2. Ask visitors to store their medications in high cabinets, out of reach
3. Mistletoe and holiday berries are poisonous if swallowed.
4. Poinsettias can cause stomach irritation.
5. Post the telephone number of the local poison control center in an
OTHER HAZARDS FOR CHILDREN:
1. Strings or cords are involved in numerous accidental strangulation
deaths of infants and children. Cords from blinds, crib mobiles, hood cords,
and pacifiers can accidentally strangle a child.
2. When visiting friends who have a dog, do not leave your child alone
with the dog.
3. When visiting friends, remember that their homes may not be
child-proofed. Ask to see if accessible cabinets are free of toxic items and
4. When cooking at home, keep children away from the stove. Use the back
burners if possible. Turn he handles of pots and pans inward so that
children cannot reach them.
Almost 3,000 people choke to death every year in the United States. An
article in Oral Surgery, Oral Pathology, Oral Medicine reviewed
hazards associated with foreign body ingestion and aspiration in the dental
office. It discussed patient-related factors, preventive measures in the
dental office, and clinical management of foreign body ingestion or
Zitzmann NV, Elsasser S, Fried R, Marinello CP: Foreign body ingestion
and aspiration. December 1999 88(6)657-660.