Dec 07, 2014 11:45 PM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

The holidays should be happy, but hidden dangers lurk in the decorated halls. “There are so many shiny decorations that will catch a child’s eye, especially because they are only brought out at this time of the year. That means you need to be extra vigilant about childproofing,” says Cindy Gellner, MD, a pediatrician at University of Utah Health. Take a few minutes to protect your kids from these common—but preventable—holiday home hazards.

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Holiday Hazards

Secure your tree firmly in its stand so it won't topple over and injure little ones. "Don’t allow horseplay around the tree," Gellner says. "Create a kid-free zone 3 feet around the tree’s perimeter."

Bright, sparkly ornaments and holiday decorations are appealing to small kids but can be dangerous. Some contain lead or break easily, and bubble lights contain methylene chloride, a poisonous chemical. Keep these up high, out of children’s reach, or packed away until the kids are older.

Candles add ambience this time of year, but make sure they are out of kids' reach and never left unattended. "Better yet, use battery-operated flameless candles," Gellner says.

Small toys can be choking hazards, and batteries, if swallowed, can damage a digestive system. Choose age-appropriate toys for kids, and closely supervise younger, curious siblings.

Help When You Need It

Did your child get into a holiday hazard? Call the Poison Center at 800-222-1222. Or program the number into your phone today, for easy access in case you ever need it. 

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