The holiday season is an exciting time, especially for kids. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the busiest times of the year for emergency departments. There are many steps families can take to protect their little ones from some common holiday dangers whether in the home or not.  

Gift Giving 

When choosing a gift, it’s important to be knowledgeable about selecting the right toy for a child. Some things to be mindful of when picking out a toy are:  

  • Consider a child’s age and if the toy is appropriate  
  • If a toy requires batteries that it has a secure battery hatch  
  • If giving a bike, scooter, skateboard, etc. to be sure to provide a helmet  
  • No small or moving parts that could be swallowed accidently  

Choking on toys or ingesting something brings a lot of kids to the hospital during the holidays. Even if the toy is safe for an older child, a toddler can swallow a part that’s been left lying about. Older siblings should be taught that potentially dangerous items be kept out of reach of their younger siblings. 

Festive Decorating 

If choosing to observe, brightly colored decorations and live Christmas trees are big parts of holiday celebrations. However, even they pose potential dangers to children. To keep your family safe with festive holiday decorations, remember to:  

  • Ensure two inches are removed from base while watering daily with live trees 
  • Make sure that artificial trees are deemed fire resistant 
  • Keep decorations five feet away from all fireplaces, heaters, and free from blocking doorways 
  • Have any poisonous plants (poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, etc.) out of reach from children and pets 
  • Use lights for designated indoor or outdoor use 
  • Keep surge protectors and lighting cords should be unplugged completely before leaving home or going to bed  
Cooking Safely  

Homecooked meals are a hallmark staple for any holiday celebration. During this time of year, fire-starters, food poisoning, and burns are a possible side effect. When cooking your family’s favorite dishes, remind yourself to:  

  • Wash hands regularly when handling food 
  • Update and check all smoke alarms are in working order 
  • Keep hot food out of the reach of younger children whether on back burners or away from edges on tables  

Cooking is not only passing down traditions from one generation to another but it’s teaching older children how to cook safely during the holiday season.  

Holiday Travel 

For some traveling to see families is a part of the holidays no matter how near or far they are. While out and about on the road this time of the year, be sure to: 

  • Check to make sure that your vehicle is running well  
  • Avoid traffic by leaving early or a day prior 
  • Make sure your well rested before any long trips  
  • Practice distracted free driving 

Establishing healthy roadside guidelines is the number one way to prevent an avoidable injury while driving.  

Have a Safe and Enjoyable Holiday Season 

To guarantee children’s safety, parents must recognize the potential risks and ward off disasters. Wise prevention will help assure that everyone in the family enjoys a happy and healthy holiday season. 

Experts in Injury Prevention 

The Injury Prevention Program at Miller Children’s & Women's focuses on providing safety education to children and families to prevent injury. Dedicated injury prevention coordinators offer bicycle, pedestrian and car seat safety, as well as certified bicycle and skateboard helmets for children in need. The Injury Prevention Program team attends community events throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties to educate children and their families on how to stay safe to avoid hospitalization. 

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