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Holiday traditions that can be safety hazards for a baby

Many of us look forward to Christmas all year long. We get together with relatives we haven't seen in a while and celebrate the holiday with feasting, caroling and gift giving.

While roasted chestnuts, tinsel and stockings may all be part of your Christmas tradition, it's important to understand the safety risks that many Christmas paraphernalia pose for small children. In today's post, we outline top hazards to look out for:

Tree ornamentation

Small children are attracted to sparkly objects. Glittery glass ornaments, garlands, tinsel and lights all fit the bill. Assume that anything your child gets their hands on will go immediately into their mouth. Chomping down on a glass ornament could lead to serious mouth lacerations. Also beware that the small bulbs from string lights can be easily plucked out and ingested. Set up a barricade so that your little one can't get too close to the Christmas tree--and only hang fragile ornaments on high branches.

Mantel

Many homeowners use their mantel as a canvas for Christmas displays. While mantels are usually high enough off of the ground to be out of reach of small children, colorful stockings hanging from the mantel may not be. A curious child may try to grab at the stockings--and if they are held in place by a metal stocking holder, that heavy piece of metal could come crashing down on their head, causing serious injury. If you hang stockings, affix them to the mantel with a nail instead.

Presents

After all the presents have been opened on Christmas morning, it may be tempting to sit back with a cup of coffee before cleaning up the litter of packaging and toys. However, if you have an infant on the scene, it's important to clear these things quickly. Stray ribbons create a strangulation threat. Older children's toys left on the ground may have small pieces--which could be choked on. In addition, many baby-friendly toys include small, disc batteries taped to the box. A baby's interest in a present's packaging may be stronger than the toy itself, and if they find and swallow such batteries, it could cause esophageal damage.

The holiday season is meant to be a time of merriment. Keep in mind the above safety tips to avoid preventable tragedy this Christmas. And have the poison control hotline number on hand, in case of unforeseen ingestion.

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