Child Safety Belongs at Top of Holiday Decorating List

SATURDAY Dec. 19, 2009 -- Children's injuries from holiday decorations are rare, at least judging by statistics from a single hospital, but they do occur, and the authors of a new study say they should be on the list of seasonal safety hazards.

Researchers found that an average of five children are treated at Children's Hospital Boston's emergency department each year for injuries from holiday ornaments. Half of the injuries occurred when a child ate fragments of decorations, such as glass and batteries, according to the report in the December issue of Pediatric Emergency Care.

"Parents need to be vigilant during the holiday season, even though it's also a busy time of year," co-author Dr. Lois Lee, director of the hospital's Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program, said in a news release from the hospital. "If you know that your child has a tendency to put things in his or her mouth, you should be especially careful."

The researchers analyzed records from 1995 through 2008 and found 76 cases of injuries involving holiday decorations, such as ornaments and light bulbs. The injuries led to treatments such as stitches, along with X-rays and CT scans.

"If there are toddlers in the house, keep them away from the Christmas tree, or at least keep the ornaments off the lower branches where the children can reach them," Lee said.

More information

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more on holiday decoration safety.

Posted: December 2009


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