Oh, Christmas Tree: Dangers Lurk in Holiday Decor

Gift tags, ornaments and lights contribute to the nearly 8,000 decor-related injuries that occur each Christmas season..

Gift tags, ornaments and lights contribute to the nearly 8,000 decor-related injuries that occur every Christmas.

The holidays are in full swing and with them come the traditions of decorating the tree and wrapping presents. But Lesley Motheral, M.D., Texas Tech Physicians Pediatrics, says to be aware of how holiday cheer could harm your children.

Christmas trees, lights, decorations and gifts are all a wonderful part of celebrating the holidays, but parents and grandparents need to remember safety tips to keep children safe.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 1,300 people are treated each year in emergency departments for injuries related to holiday lights, and another 6,200 are treated for injuries related to holiday decorations and Christmas trees.

"When there are young babies or toddlers in the home, one of the things you might consider is to avoid placing ornaments on the lower part of the tree that they can grab,” Motheral said. “This should especially be true for ornaments that have small pieces they can pull apart and can potentially choke on. This year, I have seen more shatter-proof ornaments and these are also a great option."

Another hazard is the Christmas tree. Children may pull the branches causing the tree to tip, Motheral added.

"Consider putting a baby gate up or putting your tree in a room where the door can be closed,” Motheral said.

Christmas lights also serve as a hazard.

"You want to make sure the lights are screwed in tightly and there are not any missing lights where a child may potentially put their finger and get a small electrical shock,” Motheral said.

Make sure when you are wrapping presents and putting them under the tree that you don’t put decorations or strings on them that a child could potentially rip off and choke on.

Other things like poinsettias are beautiful but can be tempting for young children. If ingested, they will cause an upset stomach, although they are not toxic or poisonous. Keep them up high out of reach of young hands. With the holidays also come candles that can cause burns. Keep candles out of reach and educate your children at a young age not to touch or play with them.

This year with all of the lights, decorations, and festivities, make it a safe holiday.


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