Grand Strand Medical Center December 14, 2015

Myrtle Beach, SC – It is that time of year for decorating Christmas trees, outside yards and enjoying holiday parties. Safety is not always top of mind during this time of the year.

On average, two to three people are treated in emergency rooms every hour during the holiday season for decorating - related injuries. More than 1/3 of toy-related injuries treated in emergency rooms are from children five years old and younger.

“The holidays may be one of the most important times to exercise caution,” states Grand Strand Health Emergency Physician, Jon Pangia, DO. “It’s important for our community to review these safety tips so everyone can best enjoy their time with their loved ones.”

Here are some holiday safety tips:

  • Never use lighted candles near trees, branches, wreaths, curtains or other flammable items
  • Keep poisonous plants out of reach of children and pets (i.e. Poinsettias)
  • Keep trees at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources
  • Make sure your tree has a stable platform
  • Choose an artificial tree that is labeled fire resistant
  • If using a natural tree, make sure it is well watered at all times (add water to the stand at least once a day)
    • Discard the tree after the holidays or when it is dry; dried out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home, garage or placed outside against the home
  • Check holiday lights for fraying, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken sockets, loose connections or excessive kinking in the wire
    • Use clips, rather than nails, when hanging lights so the cords do not get damaged
  • Turn off all tree lights and decorations when not in use
  • When putting up decorations, use a proper step stool or secure ladder to reach high places and avoid climbing on furniture
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards
  • When preparing a meal, wash hands, utensils, sink and anything else that touches raw meat
  • Reheat leftovers to at least 165°F
  • Designate a sober driver

“It is important for parents to check the toys that their children receive to make sure they are sturdy, unbreakable and a non-toxic material,” states Grand Strand Health Pediatric Intensive Care Medical Director, David Rosenberg, MD.

Here are some toy safety tips:

  • Use a bin or container to store toys when they are not in use
    • Make sure there are no holes or hinges that could catch little fingers
  • For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets
    • If swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur
  • For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking
  • Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly
    • Helmets and safety gear should be worn and fit to size
  • Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and slingshots are for older children
    • Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries
  • For children under eight, avoid toys with sharp edges and electric toys with heating parts