YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most hazardous.
Between sparkly holiday decorations and brand new toys all over the place, the holidays can pose unusual dangers for young kids.
Things like Christmas tree ornaments, light bulbs, tinsel, small toys and button batteries are potential choking hazards.
“Just making sure, looking around as you’re opening presents, getting gift from people. Are there any small pieces or small batteries that came with it, and just making sure if it’s in your eyesight, it’s in theirs as well,” said Akron Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Coordinator Bill McMahon. “Getting down and rubbing your hands across the carpet where a button or battery could have fallen and just doing those double checks you should be in good shape.”
Doctors are equally worried about toys with magnets. If a child swallows two or more, they can actually snap together inside their body. The outcome can be life-threatening.
Additional safety tips include:
- Watch out for breakable items, medications, uncovered electrical outlets and other dangers within your child’s reach. Your own childproof home might also become more dangerous if a visitor leaves a purse, medicine, alcohol or cigarettes within reach of kids
- Avoid the temptation to wait to clean up after a party. Even a small amount of alcohol or leftover food can be deadly to a child
- Plants like holly, mistletoe, evergreens and poinsettias can be poisonous. Eating them can make children sick with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or a skin rash. High doses can be even more dangerous. Keep these plants out of reach and pick up fallen leaves or needles
- Perfume, cologne and wine make great gifts for adults but are dangerous if kids swallow them
- You might easily forget about little dangers, such as tiny batteries in cameras, calculators and electronics but these button batteries can cause serious health problems if kids swallow them. Store all batteries in a safe place and if swallowed, call 911 or the Poison Emergency Hotline below. (More information about button batteries
- Holiday baking is a tradition for many but young chefs need careful supervision. Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove so kids can’t pull them and remind kids that cookie sheets are hot when they come out of the oven
- Ornaments, tinsel and other decorations can be choking hazards and broken ornaments can cause painful cuts
- Lights and candles can be fire hazards. Look for frayed or exposed wires on electric lights. Make sure no wires are pinched by furniture and no cords run under rugs. Don’t use the same extension cord for more than three strands of lights and turn off all lights before going to bed
- Remove flammable materials from the area around candles and don’t leave them unattended. The liquid in bubble lights and oil lamps can kill a child who eats it. Immediately throw away a bubble light if it’s cracked or broken. If you think a child swallowed this liquid, call 911 or the Poison Emergency Hotline below
- Instructions for new toys should be read to make sure the toys are appropriate for your child’s age and abilities. Some toys can be a choking hazard for kids under 3. Toys that are too advanced or too simple can be misused and lead to injuries. Protect young eyes by avoiding toys that shoot objects into the air
- Don’t underestimate the importance of a toy’s size. Parents can determine if a toy or toy part is a choking hazard for kids under 3 using a toilet paper tube. If it passes through, it’s not safe for your child
- Adolescents can also be hurt by toys. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for kids younger than 12 and always supervise. Toys with arrows or darts should have blunt tips made from rubber or flexible plastic
- Your attention is the best holiday gift you can give your child and is the best way to prevent these accidents
- Sitters should be carefully chosen for kids who can’t tag along to holiday parties. Be sure your babysitter knows whom to call in an emergency — you, fire and police departments, local poison control center, your child’s doctor and other trusted adults
Health experts suggest parents have the Poison Emergency Hotline in their phones just in case — 1-800-222-1222