What should I know about toddler safety during the holidays?

Most parents are well versed in the dangers of toy-choking hazards facing toddlers. Darshan Patel, MD, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, says parents of young children should be mindful of a few lesser-known holiday hazards.

“Gas fireplaces with glass fronts 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 LED-illuminated holiday candles. “They look like coins and are incredibly easy to pop out of the candles. If a small child swallows them, they burn the esophagus, causing serious injury and even death.” Dr. Patel also mentions that “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.”

Dr. Patel recommends:
• If you have a gas fireplace, make sure you have a protective screen.
• Throw out LED lights or toys with button batteries.
• Limit holiday decorations that may lure kids into climbing.
• Ensure all furniture is properly anchored.