The traditional Christmas accessories from garlands to lights to Santa’s cookies offer your kids plenty of opportunities to injure themselves. Take, for instance, your tree. The sparkly lure of tinsel won’t stop calling to your toddler, and before you know it, he’s choking on the silvery string. You’re trying to decide if the Heimlich is necessary (while also trying to remember it) as your eight-year-old, unaware of his brother’s dilemma, attempts to re-hang a fallen ornament. In his struggle to reach the highest branch, the tree starts to tip. You, your choking son and bewildered eldest are suddenly surrounded by a mess of branches, broken lights and shards of glass. Should I list the possible injuries or will your imagination suffice? And that’s just your tree. The remainder of your house is no less dangerous. Attempting to create a 100-percent safe environment is impossible, but there are a few things, namely the following, that you definitely want to keep out of reach of children.
• Holiday plants – as a young leaf-eater, I can tell you that few child plant-lovers can resist munching on a deep green leaf or bright red berry. At Christmastime, these temptations are plentiful. Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe deck the halls in great abundance and unfortunately, so do their toxins. Although not generally fatal when ingested (most are more detrimental as skin irritants), eating these plants can cause stomach discomfort and a slowed heart rate. Keep them up high when possible; the mistletoe was meant for the ceiling anyway.
• Bright lights – recent analyses have found that the lead levels in many popular lights are higher than the safety guidelines recommend. While these are electrical appliances and should be kept away from your children in the first place, it’s important that you’re aware of their toxic condition. No lead exposure is safe as any can hinder development. The only way your children should be involved in the light hanging is when they are telling you, the adult, where they should go.
• Baked goods – no, I’m not going to launch into a diet reprimand. It’s the holidays; have a cookie (but just one). However, I am going to remind you that not all sweets offered to your children will be made by you. You don’t know their contents, which could be dangerous. If your child has a peanut allergy, hidden nuts could send him to the hospital with one bite. Be mindful of what’s being taken off of the cookie plate.�
• Tinsel, ribbons, etc. – ah, the choking possibilities. Curious hands and open mouths equal a plethora of different dangers. If any of your children have a tendency to taste everything they can grab, make sure the opportunity to gobble the décor is nonexistent.