by: Renee Broze DNP, APRN, NP-C of Southern New Hampshire Health Immediate Care
The holiday season can be a magical time filled with joy, laughter, and cherished moments with loved ones. However, amidst the festivities, it’s important to prioritize the safety of our children. Here are the top five dangers to be aware of during the holidays:
1. Decorative Hazards
The twinkling lights, glittering ornaments, candles, and beautifully adorned Christmas trees are hallmark elements of the holiday season. While they create a festive atmosphere, these decorations can pose a threat to curious little ones. Ensure that ornaments are placed high on the tree, away from a child’s reach, and secure decorations to prevent accidental ingestion or injury. Be cautious with electrical decorations and cords, keeping them out of reach to avoid potential electrical hazards. Keep candles out of reach and extinguish them when you cannot supervise. Battery-operated candles are a safer alternative.
2. Button Batteries
One often underestimated danger to children during the holidays is button batteries. These small, shiny power sources, commonly found in toys, musical greeting cards, remote controls, and even some holiday decorations, pose a significant risk if ingested. Due to their size, children may mistake them for candy or be drawn to their bright appearance. When swallowed, button batteries can cause severe internal injuries. It’s crucial for parents and caregivers to be vigilant about securing items containing button batteries, keeping them out of reach, and regularly checking holiday decorations and devices for any loose or accessible batteries. Immediate medical attention is essential if there’s any suspicion of ingestion. Quick intervention can prevent serious harm.
3. Gift Wrapping and Packaging
The excitement of unwrapping presents is a highlight for children. However, the aftermath of torn gift wrap and discarded packaging can be hazardous. Ribbons, plastic, and small pieces of wrapping paper may pose a choking risk. Dispose of packaging materials promptly and keep small items out of reach.
4. Unsupervised Access to Treats
The holiday season is synonymous with delicious treats and festive foods. However, unmonitored access to sweets and treats can lead to overindulgence and pose a risk to children, particularly if they have allergies. Keep a watchful eye on their consumption of candies, chocolates, and other treats. If you’re hosting gatherings, inform guests about any food allergies your child may have, and be cautious about leaving sweets within easy reach.
5. Party Pitfalls
It is easy to lose track of children during parties, but there are steps you can take to ensure their safety. Firstly, keep alcohol out of reach, as children are naturally curious and inclined to explore their surroundings. Designating a specific area for adults to enjoy beverages away from children’s play zones can help minimize potential risks. Additionally, securing stairs with gates is a simple yet effective way to prevent accidental falls.
In addition to these dangers, it’s essential to maintain a general awareness of your child’s surroundings, especially in crowded or unfamiliar places. Stay vigilant, communicate safety guidelines to family members and caregivers, and ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to keeping our little ones safe during this festive season.
By staying mindful of these potential hazards, we can create a holiday atmosphere that is not only joyous but also safe for the youngest members of our families. I wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season!
Southern New Hampshire Health Immediate Care is available for walk-in appointments with an experienced provider. We now also provide virtual appointments for certain medical concerns. Call 603-577-CARE to schedule a virtual visit Monday through Friday, 9 am – 7 pm. You can also check Immediate Care walk-in wait times online.
Renee Broze has 22 years of experience as a Nurse Practitioner and is one of our Immediate Care providers. She joined Southern New Hampshire Health in 2021.