Most parents are well versed in the dangers of toy-choking hazards facing toddlers, but according to Darshan Patel, MD, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, parents of young children should be mindful of a few lesser-known holiday hazards.
“One thing I worry about is the danger from gas fireplaces with glass fronts, which often don’t have the proper screen protection. These fireplaces can reach 1,300 degrees, and serious burns can result,” Dr. Patel says. Another hidden hazard is button batteries found in the LED-lit holiday candles. “These batteries, which look like coins, are incredibly easy to pop out of the holiday candles, and if a small child swallows them, they burn the esophagus, causing serious injury and even death.” Dr. Patel also mentions falling furniture and Christmas trees. “Kids climb on the furniture or trees to see the shiny decorations, and when furniture is not properly anchored, it can fall and crush a small child,” he warns.
Dr. Patel recommends:
1. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure you also have a protective screen.
2. If you have any LED lights or toys with button batteries, throw them out.
3. Limit holiday decorations that may lure kids into climbing.
4. Ensure that all furniture is properly anchored.
For more holiday safety tips for children, visit www.westchestermedicalcenter.com/holidaytips