And with so many loved ones milling about – crowding kitchens, sipping wine and getting caught up in the holiday cheer – it’s not uncommon the littlest guests to sneak off and find their way into trouble.
“We see too many toddlers suffer injuries while visiting grandparents, or while at holiday gatherings where their parents are otherwise distracted,” says Dr. Anne Brayer, an emergency department pediatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who also co-directs the local Injury Free Coalition for Kids chapter.
So, how do you keep curious little fingers from finding danger – especially in a non-child-proofed home? Brayer offers the following tips:
- Before settling into the fun with friends and family, quickly scan the room that youngsters are in. Don’t let the munchkins toddle off without having made sure there are no open outlets, electric cords, or easy-to-swallow items in reach. Also pay special attention to pointy-edged coffee tables, wall corners that jut out, or any other sharp objects an infant could bump her head on – and watch out for kitchens, bathrooms, and other cabinets that might hold cleaning supplies.
- Don’t leave children without an adult. Well-meaning cousins or other grade-school-aged friends might not recognize potentially risky situations. What’s more, they often get so carried away in amusing one another, they forget to make babies’ and toddlers’ safety their first priority.
- Monitor a child’s interaction with pets. Little ones might be tempted to grab Fluffy’s tail, or even try to climb Fido, causing some pets to lash out. “Dog bites are especially problematic this time of year, since many dogs who aren’t used to toddlers horsing around the house,” Dr. Brayer warns. Even subdued pets can easily knock over little ones.
Remember, no one wants to spoil a holiday with a trip to the emergency room (or worse, carry the guilt of having a little guest injured at their house!) – so while it may seem cumbersome to pay extra attention to youngsters and prepare the house for their arrival, make the effort! It’s time well-spent.
Wishing you a most safe and happy holiday season!
Scripts will not publish next week, but returns Wednesday, Jan. 4. Happy New Year!