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Avoid hazards during holiday tear-down

Dec 29, 2018 06:27AM ● By Editor
From Elizabeth Mission of Cleveland Clinic - December 29, 2018

When the presents have all been unwrapped and the decorations are ready to come down, it can be easy to breathe a sigh of relief.

But, according to Purva Grover, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, packing up after holiday festivities can present some unexpected hazards, especially when taking ornaments down from the tree.

“Glass ornaments, or really cute, fine things are things that smaller kids can ingest,” said Dr. Grover. “Older kids can actually get harmed too, if they are playing and running around, they might step on them and smash them; the same goes for our four-legged friends as well – it’s something to think about.”

Likewise, Dr. Grover said while many of us are reluctant to let go of our Christmas spirit, trying to hang on to a live tree for too long can be a serious safety hazard.

“If you see the needles are brown and getting brittle, those have a very high chance of falling off, causing eye injuries and lacerations,” she said. “I know it’s festive, I know it’s important, but the point at which the tree is now starting to become very dry and brittle, it’s time for us to say bye-bye to it, because even just a little bit of warmth can cause it to catch fire.”

While most families know that it takes a little while to get the house back in order after the holiday rush, Dr. Grover said toys, boxes, and wrapping materials left lying around can lead to accidental cuts and scrapes.

It’s also important to discard any plastic bags or wrapping materials promptly, as these can pose a suffocation hazard to small children.

One thing to be especially careful about are any toys or gadgets that have button batteries.
Dr. Grover said these items need to be out of reach of little ones, because swallowing a button battery can be dangerous or even fatal.

She said it’s important to make sure parents are supervising children as they assemble their new toys too.

Many toys designed for older children come with small parts and pieces that can be choking or ingestion hazards for little ones, so be especially careful if there are children in the house of varying ages.

For those who are planning to head outdoors to take down decorations on the house, Dr. Grover said parents need to be mindful of ladders to make sure children are not playing around them unsupervised.