The holidays are a joyous time of year, but they also present many opportunities for your child to get hurt. Below we’re going to detail several common dangers and what you can do to prevent them.
Yes, auto accidents happen year round, but many more vehicles are on the road during the holiday season. The risk of car crashes rises as more people travel.
How do you mitigate this risk? Take good precautions as a driver. Be alert and set aside all distractions, especially your phone. Make sure your child is secured in his or her safety seat and buckled in—and make sure you buckle up too.
Also, don’t forget to designate a driver if you plan to drink. Drunk driving incidents go up over the holidays, and you don’t want to make a costly mistake that could injure you, your child, or others.
Small ornaments should be hung out of a child’s reach. Ornaments that look like cookies, candy, or fruit can be enticing to your child and present a choking hazard. If you use strands of beads, tinsel, or ribbon to decorate, keep in mind that a small child could put one end in their mouth and choke on it. Plan your tree carefully for the greatest safety.
Special holiday foods may also present choking hazards. Cut your child’s food into small pieces, and don’t allow them to eat foods like nuts or hard candies that could choke them.
Finally, toys are always a risk. A toddler could easily put a small toy intended for an older child in his or her mouth, and another big issue is button batteries. The key is close supervision. Never let a toddler out of your sight when small objects are around.
Whether it’s from toy packaging, broken lights, or dropped dishes, cuts may injure your child this time of year.
To prevent cuts from packaging, don’t let children unpackage their own gifts. Do the job for them. If possible, purchase plastic lights that won’t shatter like glass. Additionally, it’s best to place glass and other types of breakable items out of a child’s reach.
Your child could be injured from falling on slippery ice or snow. They can also trip and fall over cords or lights. Don’t allow your child to use a ladder to hang decor. It’s safer to get on the ladder yourself and have your child hand decorations or lights to you.
Your child can be hurt from falling objects as well. Injuries can result from toppled Christmas trees, heavy ornaments, and stocking hangers. Basically, any decorative item that is hefty can fall on a child.
Fire and Burns
In the winter, the use of candles and fireplaces and pits goes up, as does the risk of burns from open flames. Make sure candles are kept out of your child’s reach and always supervise them if your fireplace or fire pit is in use.
Artificial trees marked as fire-resistant are much less likely to catch fire than real trees. If you choose a real tree, make sure you check it daily for water levels and place it away from any source of heat.
Electrical fires can also pose hazards. Don’t overload your circuits by plugging too many strings of lights into one outlet. Inspect cords for fraying and repair or replace any faulty circuits.
Baking is also popular during the holidays, and many parents involve their children in making cookies and candies. Always keep an eye on your child when the oven or stovetop is in use. One slip of a handle or touch of a hot burner could cause serious burns.
If it’s been a while since you replaced the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors or smoke alarms, make sure you do so before the holidays begin. To be even safer, review an exit and meet-up plan with your children in case a fire occurs.
If children accidently ingest holiday plants, they could be poisoned or experience digestive tract injuries. Keep toxic plants out of the reach of children. Your child may experience vomiting or diarrhea from ingesting these plants even in small quantities, and life-threatening symptoms may occur with larger ingestion. Take your child to the emergency room if you suspect poisoning.
The main cause of poisoning is when your children take over-the-counter or prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet. Keep your medications locked up, and remind guests to secure their own drugs away from the reach of children.
When Another’s Negligence Brings Harm to Your Child Over the Holidays
No one wants to be filing a lawsuit against someone else during the holiday season, but if your child is injured due to someone else’s negligence, you owe it to them, your family, and other families out there to hold them accountable and hopefully prevent something like this from happening again.
Moreover, it is our firm belief that you should never have to pay for someone else’s mistakes, and the cost of medical bills and lost work adds up fast. To see if you have a valid personal injury claim, contact our office for a free legal consultation.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.