Thursday, December 08, 2005

Safe Babies At Christmas

Christmas seems to be made for babies! The glow of the tree, the twinkling lights, the sparkling decorations all seem to be designed to capture baby's attention and heart. Little ones squeal with glee at the sight of the glistening ornaments and they just love to see the brightly colored presents. Everything seems to be just right to catch your little one's attention and to make him or her smile.

And the holiday decor is absolutely full of hazards, too. Babies are at high risk of accidents during the Christmas season for lots of reasons. All of those beautiful decorations are tempting, but dangerous for baby to handle. The adults are often distracted with their busy-ness or their entertainment. Parents, care givers, and all adults who are around children this holiday season need to be extra cautious so that the happy holiday does not turn tragic. Here are some things to watch for.

Many decorations are very fragile. Older ornaments, in particular, are often made from glass and have toxic finishes. Our older ornaments are beautiful, and for many of us, they hold dear memories. We wouldn't dream of leaving them in their boxes! But for a baby or toddler, they can be deadly. Keep a close eye on your little one when around the tree or other Christmas decorations. Babies are always tempted to handle and mouth new items-that's how they learn. But you'll need to be extra cautious and make sure that your infant or toddler cannot get access to decorations that could be hazardous to his or her health. Tinsel and lights are other hazards to watch for, as well. The tinsel, especially the "icicles" that are really mylar strands, can pose quite a choking hazard if small hands find them. The lights are sometimes hot, and usually have dangling cords somewhere nearby. Don't let your child play with the swinging cord, put things into sockets or plugs, or touch the heated lights.

It's important to watch your baby around plants, too. The popular poinsettia is quite poisonous if ingested. These brightly colored flowers seem to be designed to attract the attention of babies and toddlers, though. The bright red flowers and high contrast with the green leaves make them especially appealing. Make sure that the beautiful plants are well out of baby's reach, and never, never leave your child unattended in a room with poinsettias. It's also harmful to eat too many pine needles. If you choose to use a live tree for your Christmas, make sure that you keep the sloughed needles cleaned up so your baby doesn't eat too many of them. Pine sap contains a number of harmful chemicals, and the shape of the needles themselves is quite irritating.

Those brightly colored packages pose their own set of hazards. It's best to use paper tissue to wrap presents, and steer clear of the strong, slender ribbons that can get wrapped around a baby's arm or leg. These tangle easily and can cut off circulation. Paper wrappings are generally digestible, but if your child consumes some of the shiny mylar wraps, you may need to see a doctor.

Many families leave candies out this time of the year. Make sure that your baby does not reach the candy dishes unsupervised. Too much chocolate or most any other kind of candy can give your child an upset stomach or even loose bowels. Small ch ildren may also accidentally ingest the wrappers.

And when we are in a cleaning frenzy, don't leave the buckets of water and cleaning supplies where baby might get into them. Infants have drowned in the buckets! Be sure to lock the cleaning supplies up so that your baby will not be at risk for poisoning.

Just a bit of extra added care will keep your baby safe and sound this holiday season. Never ever leave baby unattended, and your added care will pay off in spades. Baby will be safe and you will be able to enjoy the holiday with peace of mind.

1 comment:

stella said...

thats funny cause I saw a gardening show on pbs that wanted to break the myth that the pointsettia plants were posionous... and that a study was done to see how posionus pointsettias were, and thay said you would have to eat like 10 plants to really get poisioned....