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Avoiding Common Holiday Dangers to Kids

For most people, the holiday season is full of excitement, socializing and celebration. While it can bring fun and special memories, it can also present dangers that parents may not be thinking about.

“During the holidays, we often see an increase in injuries to children, especially those under 5 years old,” says Craig Gronczewski, MD, DABEM, Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University Medical Center at Princeton (UMCP). “Although many of the injuries are not life-threatening, some can be very serious, and parents should pay particular attention to situations that could result in a visit to the emergency room.”

Some of the most common holiday dangers to children include:

  • Ingesting small pieces from ornaments, new toys and batteries
  • Cuts from broken ornaments
  • Injuries from becoming tangled in or pulling on hanging roping, lights, etc.
  • Risk of shock or electrocution from exposed, overloaded outlets
  • Ingesting toxic plants like holly berries and mistletoe
  • Ingesting alcoholic drinks left unattended by adults
  • Injuries from house fires from dry Christmas trees or overloaded outlets

“Parents should be particularly vigilant about supervising their child during a time when they are particularly curious and excited about what’s going on around them,” says Dr. Gronczewski. “Keeping everyone safe and healthy is the best way to enjoy the holiday season.”

Even with proper precautions and supervision, accidents do happen. If your child requires emergency care, you can turn to UMCP's expert, board certified emergency physicians, as well as pediatricians from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), who are on-site 24/7 to provide consultation whenever it is needed or requested. Should your child need to be admitted after evaluation, he or she will be brought directly to the pediatric floor for care, where a CHOP pediatric hospitalist will work in concert with your child’s pediatrician.

For more information about the Emergency Department at University Medical Center at Princeton, visit www.princetonhcs.org. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1. For more information about CHOP Newborn & Pediatric Care at UMCP, visit www.umcpchop.org
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