Peter Reisner, M.D.
Family Medicine, Primary Care
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be a fun, exciting time. However, holiday decorations, parties and cold weather can threaten children.
Keep these safety tips in mind while preparing for the holidays:
1. Manage your Christmas tree.
If you have a real tree, ensure the tree stand is always filled with water so the tree doesn't dry out and pose an increased fire hazard. If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it is made from fire-retardant material. Make sure the stand is flat on the ground, and decorate the tree to equally distribute weight.
2. Keep flames away.
Don't leave children alone in a room with lighted candles, matches, lighters, fireplaces, or any other sources of flame or heat.
3. Watch for tempting seasonal decor.
Keep decorations out of reach of children and secured to the wall. Any object small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube can obstruct a child's airway. Closely supervise children if they're helping you decorate, especially when handling lighting, ornaments and breakable objects.
4. Keep plants out of little hands.
Keep mistletoe, holly berries and poinsettias out of reach of children, as each is toxic when ingested.
5. Remember electricity safety.
Use power strips with built-in circuit breakers. Avoid putting too many plugs into one electrical outlet. Keep cords out of the way or behind furniture, and insert electrical outlet covers into unused outlets. Purchase lights with the UL Listed mark, which certifies that the product has been tested to meet safety requirements.
6. Find safe toys.
Make sure your children's toys are age-appropriate and the batteries cannot be easily removed. Batteries shaped like disks, or button batteries, pose a choking risk to young children. Avoid placing gifts under the tree that contain glass, perfume or cologne, poisonous substances or sharp materials.
7. Monitor alcohol in the home.
Keep alcohol out of reach of children. Quickly clean up leftover drinks.
8. Bundle up and use safety gear.
Dress children properly for the weather, making sure that their hands, feet and heads are covered. Supervise children and make sure they wear the correct safety gear for sledding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and other outdoor activities.
Carefully inspecting your home and taking care of any safety hazards can ensure you and your children have a happy and safe holiday season. Get additional safety information for you and your family.Peter Reisner, M.D., sees patients in Family Medicine in Chetek, Wisconsin.