The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family, friends, and loved ones. While it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season, it’s important to put measures in place to practice holiday safety. Holiday safety is an issue that takes place from late November to mid-January, when get-togethers and parties take place, families gather, and travel spikes. Take the following safety precautions to ensure you and your family remain safe and injury-free throughout the holiday season.
Avoid Food Choking Hazards
According to Injury Facts, choking was the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death in 2017. The majority of people who die from choking are older than 74. Food is often responsible for choking incidents, especially in the elderly. While the holidays are a social time, it’s important not to talk when you are eating and to make sure your food and other’s (including children and elderly) is cut up into easy to swallow pieces. Be especially careful when eating the following holiday foods that pose the highest choking threats: hotdogs, popcorn, peanuts, hard candy, fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses.
It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities while you are decorating your house, but remember to pay close attention to decoration safety, especially when it comes to candles, fireplaces, poisonous and chokable objects. There is more risk for accidental fire when candles and fireplaces are combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations. The National Fire Protection Association reports that one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles and that two of every five decoration fires happen because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source. While poinsettias are beautiful and festive, they are also poisonous when eaten, so keep them out of the reach of kids and pets. In addition to the decorations you use, it’s critical that you practice safety when putting up your decorations. Make sure to work as a team and use the right tools when stringing lights and decorations in high places that can be difficult to reach to avoid accidental falls.
Give Gifts Safely
Think before you give, especially when it involves children’s gifts. In 2017, there were an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. The AAP reminds us that just because a toy product is on the market does not mean that it is safe. In order to determine toy safety, consider the characteristics of the toy and how the toy might be used or abused and the amount of supervision or help needed to remain safe. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) contains information regarding toy safety and can be a resource for pediatric providers and caregivers.
We wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
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