Holidays can become hectic often overwhelming the time for our children which makes it hard to maintain a safe and nurturing environment for them. Delicious treats, traveling, family gatherings, cooking, cleaning and decorating all create great memories but safety issues that need to be addressed. Keeping all those electrical wires, fun foliage and treats up and away from both your own and your guest’s children.
Holiday decorations are a time and true aspect of tradition, but many pose an extreme risk to our children including; mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, and Jerusalem cherry plants. Symptoms can include rash, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Choking hazards can come in a variety of shapes such as; small tree ornaments, light bulbs, icicles, and even sparkling tinsel. If you have toddlers or crawling children, make sure to keep these decorations in the closet or at the top of the tree out of reach. The act of cooking and sharing food is a large part of the holidays, but in order to reduce the chance of food poisoning, wash hands, utensils, dishes, and anything else that comes in contact with raw meat, including poultry and fish, and raw eggs before and after use. Make sure not to leave food out too long, always store leftovers properly and heat them thoroughly before serving again.
One of those "no brainer" safety issues is alcohol poisoning, which still happens at an alarming rate every year. We can’t always have our eyes on everything but try to place all empty and partially empty cups out of reach of children. Intoxication happens much quicker for children than adults so even a small glass of leftover champagne can be dangerous. With the hustle and bustle that is the holidays it’s easy to forget the core of it, love and family! While children get excited for tangible gifts and new toys sometimes the best gift you can give is simply attention. Include them in the cooking, even if it’s handing them extra dough to play with. Ask them to help you "clean" the house for your guests or help wrap gifts with you.
Making sure their room is off limits to guests provides them with a space to retreat to if they feel over stimulated, so they can re-energize. Plan decorations ahead of time, inform your guests of limitations such as keeping cups up high and making bedrooms off limits, these can all contribute to your and your child’s sanity. Using calming touch, hugs and inclusion will help maintain your bond as well as calm them during this crazy time of year.
If you suspect poisoning from anything during the holidays please call the National Poison Center at (800) 222-1222.
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