With the holidays approaching, Dignity Health Medical Groups are reminding families to ‘child-proof’ their homes for the holidays. Several of our pediatricians weighed in on some of the potential dangers that parents should be mindful of when preparing for the holiday season. While this year is certainly different in many ways, we hope you can enjoy the magic of the season with those you love in a safe environment!
Danton Kono, MD, a pediatrician with Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group in Citrus Heights, suggested a few ways to child-proof your Christmas tree so that it’s as safe as it is beautiful, as it can pose multiple hazards for toddlers.
Be especially cautious with glass ornaments that your toddler can reach, as well as faulty lights and wiring. As an added precaution, hang breakable ornaments toward the top of the tree and leave room for kids to decorate the bottom of the tree with non-breakable items. It’s also important to properly secure your tree base to prevent it from falling and ensure your tree lights are not overloading your home’s electrical circuit, as this can trigger your circuit breaker and cause electrical fires.
Sarah Favila, MD, a pediatrician with Woodland Clinic, added that children are curious and can get into dangerous materials, such as wrapping paper and plastic bags, if unsupervised. Many decorations also include batteries or magnets, so it’s important to conceal batteries properly in their packs and keep them out of children’s sight. Toddlers tend to put things in their mouths so they should be watched diligently to avoid accidents and parents should seek immediate medical attention if their child does swallow a foreign object.
Dr. Favila also cautioned on displaying potentially harmful seasonal plants out of reach. Some popular holiday plants, including mistletoe and holly berries, are poisonous to children and pets.
Kimberly Hart, DO, a pediatrician with Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group in Citrus Heights, shared how stove and oven burns are more common this time of year, given the uptick in cooking and baking. If there are children in your household, it’s safer to cook on the back burners of the stove and keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters to prevent accidental burns.
And while creating delicious meal or treats among loved ones is a holiday tradition for many, adults should always keep a close eye on children when in the kitchen. One tip is teaching younger children to stay at least three feet away from your cooking space, as well as placing babies who are in a high-chair outside of a designated ‘kid-free’ kitchen zone, but still somewhere you can see them.
All of these child-proofing measures are extremely important, but perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your family safe this year is to make sure you’re following your local state and county guidelines as they pertain to COVID-19. You can also refer to the CDC guidelines around holiday safety.