It’s the most wonderful time of year for our kids and we can see the anticipation as their eyes and smiles glow with the magic of the holidays. Unfortunately, our beloved holiday traditions, decorations, and gifts can pose some surprising hidden dangers to our boys and girls that range everywhere from broken bulbs to toxic toys. If we aren’t careful, our merry and bright holidays can quickly turn into a nightmare. This makes it essential that we take a cue from Saint Nick himself and check our list twice for potentially naughty hazards this holiday.
Listed below are 7 holiday dangers and tips to keep our children safe this holiday season:
Toys with Button Batteries
Our sons and daughters love to get new trinkets as gifts. Often, these small toys light up, make noise, or move with the aid of small button batteries. Unfortunately, these batteries have been known to break loose with young children ingesting them. This can lead to button batteries wreaking havoc in our children’s digestive system, causing severe internal burns and injuries.
TIP: When looking for stocking stuffer or dreidel prizes for young children, skip items that have tiny batteries.
Many of our kids are clamoring for the newest cell phones, tablets, and gaming systems this holiday. However, cyberbullying rates have tripled within the last few years, with a whopping 87 percent of our sons and daughters witnessing these behaviors. If that isn’t cause enough for alarm, we also have to worry about sexting, online predators, identity theft, and more.
TIP: Before gifting a technology device, we need to make sure we have a conversation with them about social media etiquette, cyber safety, privacy settings, and the rules for using technology in our homes. Having these proactive discussions can help us gauge a child’s maturity and decision making skills before we give them unlimited access to the Internet and social media. A few minutes talking may save our children a lot of heartache down the road.
During the holidays we often deck our halls with special flowers and greenery like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe. While these festive blooms add cheer to our homes, they can also pose some unseen risk to our kids and pets. Many of these exotic plants are toxic if ingested.
TIP: Instead of filling the house with a multitude of live plants, opt for artificial blooms. However, if you crave the real deal, remember it is a good rule of thumb to keep these seasonal specialties out of reach and away from our little ones.
Lead Hazards in Children’s Jewelry and Toys
During the holidays our children love to layer on the bling or beg for that new fidget spinner. Unfortunately, our child’s favorite jewelry and trendy toys might be harboring high levels of heavy metals. Lead has long been known to cause learning and development delays while being linked to poor health.
TIP: During the holidays, err on the side of caution by avoiding cheap children’s jewelry, bypassing fidget spinners, and checking for recalled items before gifting this items.
Many of us decorate our homes with lights to add brightness, but our sons and daughters can be drawn to the cords and outlets. Every year over 2,500 accidents involve kids and wall outlets with 70 percent of these occurring under the watchful eye of an adult.
TIP: Take extra precautions like using outlet covers, tucking lights out of reach, using extension cords with a tap button to turn on the lights, use battery powered lighting, or set the lights on a timer to prevent small children from attempting to play with or plug in lights.
Bulky Coats and Car Seat Restraints
As we come and go to holiday gatherings, our kids will be in and out of the car numerous times. All of their bulky winter coats and blankets can surprisingly interfere with the function and safety of their car seats or seat belts.
TIP: Remove a child’s coat before buckling them up and then place the coat on “backwards” to keep them warm until the vehicle is warmed up.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without candles, but they can pose some serious dangers for our wee ones. It is estimated that candles cause $360 million in property damage during the holidays. In addition to fire and burning hazards, candles also release harmful chemicals into the air which can irritate small airways.
TIP: Instead of using open flames, purchase battery operated alternatives to maintain the ambience without the risk.