The holidays are full of joy and excitement, especially for children. But every year around 50,000 children go to emergency rooms from two days before Christmas to two days after Christmas. This winter, follow these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help keep your kids out of the ER.
Although more children younger than 5 years old were seen in the ER with injuries around Christmas, all age groups are at risk. The good news is that nearly all children are treated and released from the hospital on the same day. Still, prevention can help keep your holidays running smoothly and safely:
• If you have young children, don’t use any ornaments that are sharp or breakable, have small removable parts, or look like candy or food.
• After you open presents, remove wrapping paper, ribbons, and other choking hazards. But don’t burn them in the fireplace; they’ll ignite quickly, potentially causing a flash fire.
• Keep toys with button batteries away from small children. These batteries can be deadly if swallowed.
• When you visit friends or family, keep an eye out for danger spots, such as staircases without child gates, in homes that have not been childproofed.
For many kids, winter means sledding, ice-skating, building snowmen, and having snowball fights. As temperatures fall, keep these tips in mind for outdoor play.
• Keep kids warm and dry by dressing them in several thin layers. Don’t forget insulated boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
• To prevent hypothermia and frostbite, set a time limit for how long kids can play outside. Have them come indoors every now and then to warm up.
• Supervise young kids when they are sledding, skiing, or snowboarding, and make sure they wear the right protective gear.
Although the holidays and winter weather can create risky situations for kids, more injuries are actually caused by everyday activities.
So, while you keep an eye out for holiday hazards and winter woes, don’t forget about the usual suspects. For instance, don’t let your kids run on hardwood floors in stocking feet and don’t leave plastic bags where children can reach them.
Stop in to your local Rite Aid and pick up some basic first aid supplies to have on hand during the holidays.
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