Northwest NEWS

December 21, 1998

Home & Garden

Holidays can be dangerous for children

This time of year, attention turns to toys, Santa, and yummy treats. Often parents and caregivers give little thought to the dangers that lurk around the Christmas tree, in candy dishes, and in the luggage of visiting family and friends.

   This year, when preparing your home for the holidays or when welcoming traveling visitors, be sure to:

   Decorate your Christmas tree appropriately for your child's age. Children who are still "mouthing" items may put ornaments in their mouths.

   Put glass bulbs, lights, tinsel, and ornaments that are delicate or have removable parts out of reach.

   Remember that popcorn is a choking hazard for children under age five.

   Possibly place the Christmas tree on top of a table (no table cloth) or put a safety fence around it. Designate a responsible adult to unplug all lights before bed time or leaving the house. Also, blow out all candles.

   Have visitors put luggage and purses up high where they can't be reached.

   Often, grandparents carry medication in luggage; ask them to store it with your other medications (locked and out of reach).

   Hard candies and nuts which are often set out for visitors are also choking hazards for children under age 5.

   Holiday meal preparation needs special attention, too. Designate one adult to keep all children out of the kitchen.