Holiday Safety Tips for Families

When his parents brought their 2-year-old to the hospital, they didn't know what could be wrong. One minute he was asleep; the next he was awake, giggling strangely and acting silly. Then he'd sleep again.

The emergency medical personnel at Mendy's Place, the pediatric emergency center at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital, knew exactly what had happened. The parents had hosted a holiday party the night before, and that morning the boy found the glasses filled with pretty liquid and sampled them.

Parties, presents and glittery décor — all the things that make the holidays swirl with excitement — also make them more dangerous for babies and children.

The staff at Mendy's Place offers this advice for a happier, safer holiday season:

  • Clean up after parties so that children don't drink leftover alcohol while you're sleeping in.
  • Pay attention to your routine. Most accidents happen when routines are broken and people are distracted.
  • Make your own home holiday safe: Skip glass ornaments or tinsel, or hang them out of the reach of small children and babies.
  • Poinsettias can cause vomiting and diarrhea if eaten, and skin contact can cause a rash. Just three bright red berries from a holly plant can cause severe and prolonged nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Look at any home you visit from a child's level. Are electric outlets covered? Are candles burning on a low table? Is the fireplace blocked?
  • Does the pool have a fence with a locked gate?
  • Get enough sleep and eat well, so you are better able to fight holiday germs.

Finally, remember kids like brightly colored items — including the pills in grandma's purse. Many adult prescriptions are toxic for children; a single dose of heart medication can be fatal. If you suspect your baby or child has swallowed something, don't hesitate to visit Mendy's Place, the 24/7 pediatric Emergency Department.

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