Silver Cross Offers Tips to Celebrate the Holidays Safely

Injuries can happen anywhere, and unfortunately, many occur during the happiest season of all – the holidays!

Kids playing with Christmas toys by a tree

In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital emergency departments treated more than 166,000 toy-related injuries in the U.S. to children younger than 15, with most associated with riding toys and choking on small parts, like small balls and balloons.

“The last thing any child or parent wants is to end up in the emergency room hurt and unable to celebrate the holidays,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., Medical Director of the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center located at 143rd St. and Bell Rd in Homer Glen.

The challenge for parents is to find toys that children will enjoy and that are known to be safe.

Dr. Checco recommends parents follow these simple guidelines to help keep the holiday season safe for your youngsters:

  • Avoid toys that shoot or have parts that fly off.
  • Choose toys made of durable materials with no sharp edges or points.
  • Don't give young children toys with small parts. Youngsters tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. 
  • Dr. Dan Checco

     Dr. Dan Checco

    Choose age-appropriate toys. Age labeling is provided for developmental and safety reasons.

  • Select toys to suit a child's abilities, skill, and interest level.
  • To avoid serious ear injury, don't buy toys that make loud or shrill noise.
  • Choose well-made stuffed animals. The eyes, noses, and other small parts should be fastened securely.
  • Never buy hobby kits, such as chemistry sets, for children younger than age 12.
  • Look for the letters "ASTM," which indicate a toy or product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials.

“Parents should practice a common sense approach when purchasing age-appropriate toys for their children,” said Dr. Checco. “By simply explaining and demonstrating how to use the toys and keeping toys for older children away from younger ones, many accidents can be avoided.”

Other tips to avoid holiday mishaps

  • Discard packaging immediately. Sharp staples and plastic bags can cause injuries and pose safety hazards.
  • Make sure children play in safe areas and, if appropriate, under supervision.
  • Make a list of safety rules and share them with your children. If your youngsters are playing with friends, remind everyone of your safety rules.
  • Never leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven.
  • Keep children away from the cooking area, and keep flammable items like potholders and paper or plastic bags away from the stove and oven.
  • Make sure your live tree has plenty of water.
  • Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items.
  • Throw out light sets with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections.

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.