We all look forward to the holidays; they serve as an opportunity to connect with family and friends, celebrate, reflect, share, and take respite from our busy lives. This is also the time to be kind to ourselves, grateful for the gift of health, and to create awareness around safe behaviors. Protecting children from some potential holiday dangers will assure that you can enjoy a season that's happy and healthy.
We have gathered some holiday tips for health and well-being to share with those in your like: friends, family and patients alike.
Staying and Keeping Warm
Cold outside temperatures will lower body temperature, creating the potential for serious health problems, especially in infants and children. Dress in layers, stay dry, and hydrate often.
To avoid getting sick and spreading germs, frequent hand-washing is an important first step. Using soap and warm water for about 20-30 seconds will help to keep colds at bay. When sneezing or coughing, use your elbow or a tissue and avoid using your hands.
Preventing Holiday Dangers
Holiday decorative plants, such as holly, mistletoe, pointsettias and Jerusalem cherry plants are considered to be potentially poisonous and should be kept out of reach of children and pets. Symptoms of plant poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, rashes, and diarrhea. Any suspected plant poisoning needs to be addressed by a physician. Call the National Poison Center at 800-222-1222 or visit their web site.
Glow bubble Christmas lights containing the chemical methylene chloride can be poisonous, even if they are labeled to be non-toxic. It is also important not to use snow spray around children.
Holiday parties can mean that alcohol is more accessible to children. Children imitate adults, so it is important to remove all used drinking glasses so kids do not drink the beverages adults are drinking. Children are at a higher risk for alcohol poisoning during the holiday season.
It is also important to keep smaller children away from ornaments or other small holiday decorations, as they can pose a choking hazard and can block a child’s airway. If a holiday decoration is small enough to fit into a child’s mouth, it is a potential choking hazard. Pine needles and angel hair made from finely spun glass can also pose a threat to children.
Food poisoning can be a holiday hazard as well; washing hands and washing all cooking utensils used for raw meat, poultry, fish and eggs is essential. Pay attention to frequently served holiday snacks, such as popcorn and peanuts for both choking and allergy risks.
Healthy Holiday Eating with Children
It helps to have a light and healthy snack before attending holiday festivities to avoid overeating sugary or fatty foods. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and opting for smaller portions will set a positive example for children, especially when food may be in greater abundance.
For additional holiday safety tips for the 2015 holiday season, please visit the AAP’s information page.
Making healthy choices during the holiday season using a bit of moderation and balance will allow full enjoyment of the holidays. Here’s to a joyous and appreciative holiday season!