Safety Can Be the Best Present

Yuletide is prime time for injury, but simple tips can help

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

SUNDAY, Dec. 25, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Safety may be the very best gift to give this holiday season.

U.S. hospital emergency rooms treat about 10,800 people each year for injuries related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Candles alone cause about 11,000 fires each year in the United States, resulting in an average of 150 deaths and 1,200 serious injuries. Christmas trees are involved in another 400 fires each year, resulting in about 20 deaths, 70 injuries and more than $15 million in property loss and damage.

It doesn't have to happen in your home. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Safe Kids Georgia offer the following holiday safety advice:

  • Match toys to a child's age.Only allow children to use age-appropriate toys and never allow infants and toddlers to play with toys that have small parts that could pose a choking hazard. A handy hint: If a part can fit inside a standard cardboard toilet paper tube, it's is a choking hazard.
  • Ride safe.When Santa brings kids bikes, skates, skateboards or scooters, make sure he brings helmets and other appropriate safety gear, too. Motorized scooters and all-terrain vehicles are not appropriate for children under age 16.
  • Deck the halls with care. Keep decorations and other items with sharp edges well out of the reach of children.
  • Be tree-safe. Make sure the Christmas tree is fresh, green and watered frequently. Keep it away from heat sources, such as vents, candles and fireplaces. Make sure that artificial trees are fire-resistant.
  • Let Rudolph light the way. Turn off Christmas lights when you go to bed and blow out all candles.
  • Check fire safety. Make sure all your smoke alarms have batteries and are in working order. Develop a fire escape plan for your family that offers two escape routes out of each room.
  • Beware of Yuletide toxins. Keep poisonous plants such as amaryllis, holly and mistletoe out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Unwrap, remove. Clear up used wrapping paper from around the tree and fireplace immediately after you open presents.
  • Light safely. Use only indoor holiday lights inside the house and outdoor lights outside.
  • Spread the word. When you visit relatives or friends, make sure their homes are childproofed for your children.

More information

The National Safety Council offers these holiday safety tips.

SOURCE: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, news release, December 2005

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