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CHEO Provides Tips for a Safe Holiday
CHEO Provides Tips for a Safe Holiday
Ski/Snowboard Helmet Tops List of Gift Suggestions
OTTAWA – Holidays are a wonderful time for families and friends to gather and celebrate special times together. Everyone will take away happy memories if they take a few minutes and plan ahead.

When selecting toys:

Every year at CHEO, the Emergency Department sees kids who get injured trying out new toys. You can help make sure your family has a safe Christmas by:
  • Following the age guidelines on toy packages
  • Making sure toys are the right size for your child’s age
  • Teaching older children to never give young children small toys or foods they might choke on,
  • Teaching your children how to use a new toy properly, and
  • For young children, especially under age 3, avoid toys or clothing with:
    small parts that can cause choking; small magnets that can cause damage to a child’s intestine if swallowed; long strings or cords, which can strangle a child; sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut, batteries, particularly the small “button” batteries, found in many toys can pose a choking risk.
To learn more about toy safety, visit the Health Canada Toy Safety Tips web page or the great, age-specific toy safety information on the Sick Kids hospital website.

CHEO makes a couple of recommendations for last minute shoppers

CHEO especially encourages one of the following Christmas gifts for children and youth:

  • A ski/snowboarding helmet: CHEO saw more than 20 kids in its Emergency Department last year with head injuries from skiing or snowboarding. This is really unfortunate since 70–90% of head injuries can be avoided by wearing a properly fitting helmet. CHEO encourages families to hit the slopes or the rinks this winter and stay active, but to make sure they have the right head gear!
  • Old fashion board games: While the latest video game will always have appeal, don’t forget to pick out an age-appropriate board game that will promote some quality family time.
  • Books for all ages: If the “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” series have taught us anything in recent years, it’s that reading can be fun for children of all ages. The book stores are crammed with recommendations for your child or teenager. Be sure to include a book under your Christmas tree to help children learn to read — or even to develop a lifetime love of reading.

Holiday Decorations

Boston Children’s Hospital has indicated that it sees five children in its Emergency Department every year with injuries from a Christmas tree decoration – usually from trying to eat them. Over recent years, 12 of these kids had bleeding from their mouths or stomachs; two had to go to the operating room, and six had to be admitted to hospital.

While CHEO does not keep statistics particularly on Christmas tree decorations, we do think that Boston’s research can be a lesson to all of us. It is worth taking a few extra precautions, such as:

  • Supervise children around Christmas trees, and teach them not to touch the lights or wiring.
  • Decorations on trees such as angel hair, icicles and tinsel can be dangerous for young children. Avoid using them until children are old enough to know not to put these items in their mouths.
  • Save breakable ornaments for higher branches.
  • Use a large, sturdy tree stand, to prevent the tree from tipping over.
  • If you have a real tree, make sure you cut an inch off the bottom to help the trunk absorb water. This will prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. It is important to have a stand that holds at least one gallon of water. A six-foot tree will absorb about a gallon of water every two days so make sure to check the water level daily. Keep the tree away from heaters, fireplaces and other heat sources.
  • Always supervise younger children around the menorah, and never leave candles unattended.
  • The poinsettia plant was once thought to be poisonous but in fact it is no longer classified as severely toxic. However, holly berry, bayberry, mistletoe and Jerusalem cherry are poisonous seasonal plants and should kept away from children.
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CHEO Media Relations: 613-737-2343

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