As much joy as the holidays can bring for many of us, the season also brings with it more than its fair share of safety risks. With fireplaces aglow, candles burning, and string lights sparkling on giant piles of tinder, it’s a time for caution as well as merrymaking. Throw in a houseful of festive kids and pets, and your holiday joy could quickly turn into a trip to Laredo Emergency Room for your little ones, or a trip to the emergency vet for your furry companions.
We really don’t want you spending your holidays seeking emergency medical care for the ones you love most, so we’re sharing these holiday safety tips that will help you keep your kids and your pets safe all season long.
- Watch the cords. Whether you string lights only on a simple tree in the corner or deck out your entire house in LEDs, the electrical cords from string lights can pose a major safety risk, especially for children and pets. Cords that snake out along the floor pose a tripping hazard that can result in falls and injuries to children, and can serve as a chewing temptation for pets. Very young children may even play among the strings and become strangled. So be sure to tuck away all cords and, when you can’t avoid running cords along walls, use cord covers designed to keep cords in place and protected.
- Choose battery-operated candles. Kids are fascinated by fire and often can’t resist the temptation to experiment with lit candles, even if only to blow and watch the flames dance. The problem is that those dancing flames can catch nearby flammable materials, resulting in a potentially catastrophic fire. Pets are often fearful of flames, which may cause them to panic and accidentally overturn a lit candle. The National Fire Protection Association says that the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Luckily, battery-operated candle choices abound, with many realistic-looking options available to help you avoid adding to those numbers.
- Screen the spread. The holidays bring with them many opportunities to indulge in once-a-year treats. Those delicious additions don’t just add calories to our diet – they also pose risks to our children and pets. Overeating can cause nausea and abdominal pain for all of us, but children oftentimes are even more sensitive to ingredients that are new to them and may have more significant reactions. Children also love to grab handfuls of the treats that pop up during the holidays – but because “bite-sized” treats are not one size fits all, children are more likely to choke on these goodies. Be sure to check all treats for size before you serve to your children. Pets are highly sensitive to the delicious smells of holiday foods and often can’t resist sneaking a serving for themselves – so beware of leaving out chocolate and any other foods that may be harmful to your pets.
- Travel safely. The winter holiday season is one of extensive travel for many families with kids and pets, whether on the road or by air. Making your holiday trip safe for the kids and pets in your family is easy with just a few guidelines. First, always buckle up your children, even for long car rides, whether in a baby seat, booster, or the car’s seat belt. Pets can comfortably ride crated if you have the space, or you can fit them with their own seatbelt or car seat. Make sure to never let your pet out of the vehicle without a leash. If flying, don’t have your child sit on the aisle, where passengers are most likely to become injured by passing carts or other passengers.
These holiday safety tips are sure to help make your season more enjoyable for you and your family.
But if you should find yourself facing a medical emergency this holiday season, Laredo Emergency Room is here to help 24/7/365.
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