(To the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”)
“On the month with all the holidays,
I like to give some clues
So everyone stays safe,
And you don’t sing the holiday blues!”
Yes, it’s the holiday season once again. What better time to remind everyone of some simple things you can do to keep you and your children safe and sound?
First, if you have a tree, secure it well to keep it from tipping. If it is a live tree, keep it well-watered and away from floor heaters, fireplaces, or other heat sources. If it is an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant. Keep no more than three strands of lights linked together on an extension cord and never use electric lights on a metal tree – or you could be in for a shocking experience.
If there are children in the home, tinsel and small decorations and bulbs should not be at the bottom of the tree. It’s important to prevent small children from reaching for them and then putting them into their mouths, where they become a choking hazard.
Avoid lit candles on trees and keep any lit candles out of reach of small children. You can also consider not lighting candles up at all with small children in the house.
Turn off all lights and blow out all candles when you leave the house or go to sleep. This will help avoid a potential fire hazard. And don’t forget to make sure your smoke detector is working.
Most holiday plants are safe, but remember that mistletoe and holly berries eaten in excess can be dangerous. If your child does snack on a holiday plant, you can always call the Northern New England Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Finally, if you are hosting a party in your home, don’t forget to clean up the night of the party so your child doesn’t discover left over alcoholic beverages or small snack foods that can be choking hazards the morning after. So to wrap up for this year…
(To the tune of “The Christmas Song”)
“And so I’m wishing you safe holidays,
So no one has to flip their lids.
This is pediatrician Dr. Lewis First,
Hoping you’ll first with kids.”
Lewis First, MD, is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at UVMHealth.org/MedCenterFirstWithKids.