Halloween is just the beginning of the holiday season, and there are lots of ways your kids can get hurt over the next few months.
Below, we’re going to cover common injuries that kids suffer over the holidays and let you know how you can get help if the worst does occur and your child has an accident.
Yes, the risk of a car crash increases. To protect your child:
- Stay alert when you are driving
- Make sure your child’s car seat is the right type for his or her height and weight
- Always wear your seat belt
- Never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking
Your child can choke on any piece of food that is too hard or too big. Because of this, you should remove items from your child’s Halloween treats that aren’t age-appropriate, such as hard candies or nuts for younger trick-or-treaters. At big holiday meals, make sure your child’s food is cut into small pieces.
Also, watch out for small holiday items that your child may be tempted to put in his or her mouth. Button batteries, ornaments that look like food, beads, and ribbons could entice your child. If you use these items, keep them out of their reach.
Cuts present a hazard all year long, but they increase during the holidays due to broken lights, toy packaging, and broken dishes. Purchase plastic, paper, or foam dishware for parties. Take care to keep breakable items out of your child’s reach. If a break does occur, make sure to clean up every bit as soon as possible to prevent your child from stepping on broken shards.
Your child could slip and fall over cords or lights and get hurt. At your house, you can take care to minimize these pitfalls, but that doesn’t mean others will be so conscientious. Decorations in neighbor’s yards can present a huge falling hazard.
Additionally, you shouldn’t allow your child to use a ladder to affix décor. Get on the ladder yourself and have your child hand items to you.
Also watch out for falling objects, because these can injure your child as well. Décor, ornaments, and other holiday fixtures can seriously harm your child if they topple over.
Many people enjoy lighting candles in cooler months. However, your child’s risk of getting burned goes up when he or she is exposed to an open flame. Choose air fresheners that don’t involve an open flame, and if you do use candles, put them out of your child’s reach and never leave them unattended.
If candles are problematic, it should go without saying that bonfires present a significant burn risk to your child. If your child is present, keep your eyes on them at every moment.
Another risk? Fall baking. Though it is a tradition in many families, if your child is helping in the kitchen, keep a close eye on his or her movements. They can be seriously injured by a kitchen accident, so monitor them carefully.
Finally, now is the time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. You can protect your whole family by making sure the detectors are working properly. Practice your family fire escape route as well.
You can protect your child by buying lights with a safety certification mark, using a ground-fault circuit interrupter to prevent shocks, and by inspecting your power strips and extension cords for wear and tear. Be sure to plug only the recommended amount of light strings into one power strip, according to manufacturer guidelines.
Feeling even more stressed out by the holidays now? Don’t be.
While children getting hurt is always a risk, and you should certainly engage in safe practices to minimize dangers, it’s not worth putting your kids in a bubble or refusing to let them out of arm’s reach. This is the season for fun and merriment, and the overall chance of your child getting into a serious accident is still relatively low. Be conscientious and keep your eyes open, but don’t spoil the fun.
In the event that something does happen, do your best to remain calm, contact medical professionals, and try to document the scene as thoroughly as possible. It may be the last thing you want to do while your child is hurting, but if another’s negligence led to the injury, your whole family will thank you later.
About the Author:
Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.