Healthy Living: Holiday Safety 

The holidays are an exciting and memorable time for everyone. The following tips may help keep you and your family safe while enjoying this special season.Christmas TreesFor many households, putting up a Christmas tree is a major event. When picking a precut tree, choose one with branches than bend (not break) and with needles that do not easily pull off. These indicate that it is fresher. The trunk of a fresh tree will have a sticky trunk butt and cutting a little more of the trunk off will exposes fresher wood which will absorb water better. Be sure to keep the tree stand full of water. Otherwise, even the freshest tree will dry out quickly.Keep Christmas trees away from any heat source – this includes fireplaces, radiators, wood stoves or portable heaters.If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled “fire resistant”.DecorationsLIGHTS are the star of holiday decorations. Check all of your lights, even if brand new. All the bulbs should be in working order and there should be no loose sockets/cracked areas/other defects. Outdoor lights should be certified for this use. Metal and lights do not mix! This means no lights should be used on metal Christmas trees and no metal should be used to hang lights, such as staples or nails. There are noncombustible hooks or insulated staples available just for safely hanging decorative lights. Although coming home to twinkling lights seems charming, it is not safe to leave them on in an empty house, so please turn off all decorative lights when you are not homeLIGHTED CANDLES are also traditional for many but should be carefully kept away from any trees or other greenery. Candle holders must be non-flammable and only placed on secure surfaces where they will not be knocked over. ORNAMENTS should also be flame resistant or non-combustible. Ornaments that are small, sharp, breakable, or have removable parts should be well out of the reach of children. The same is true of ornaments that look like candy or other treats.WrappingFor many people, especially children, the most exciting part of the season is opening presents. While the wrapping paper is being ripped off, someone needs to remain vigilant and keep track of the discarded paper, bags, bows and ribbons as they can become fire, choking and suffocation hazards. It is important to never burn wrapping paper, bows or ribbons in fireplaces: they can ignite suddenly and burn intensely.Especially for ChildrenVisiting friends and relatives or having visitors can be the most meaningful part of the holidays. It may also require some extra planning to keep small children safe. Other homes may not be childproofed, and though it can be socially awkward, asking your hosts to temporarily adjust their homes during the visit is essential. Likewise, visitors may themselves need to be “childproofed”! Attention to how personal belongings are handled, such as purses and luggage – which may contain medication or choking hazards – is a must. Monitoring and directing visitor behavior with food and drink is necessary also. Another potentially touchy subject is the gifts your children may receive from well-meaning loved ones. All toys given should be age appropriate. If not, you will need to remove it from your child’s possession. No items with an electrical cord are appropriate for children under 10. Also, no items with strings or cords are appropriate for infants or young toddlers. Swallowing button batteries and magnets can be deadly. Besides being found in some toys, button batteries are also found in items ranging from musical greeting cards to hearing aids. All of us at EMMC want you have the most wonderful holiday season possible! Hopefully, these safety tips will help you enjoy the seasonal festivities with confidence and peace of mind. For more details visit the American Academy of Pediatrics Website 2012 Holiday Safety Tips. 2012 Holiday Safety Tips