Child Safety during the Holiday Season

As we celebrate the holidays this year, it’s important to remember that holiday decorations have hidden risks, particularly to small children. Cuts, usually from glass ornaments, are one of the most common injuries. Sometimes small pieces of glass can remain lodged in the cut, which is where radiologists step in. X-rays can be used to locate many of the larger pieces of glass while ultrasound can be used to find the smaller pieces and help remove them.

Another hazard is when children put small pieces of decorations into their mouths and accidentally swallow them. In fact, swallowed objects are the most common thing we are asked to help with when it comes to holiday hazards. They might sound surprising, but the list of things we have seen children swallow around the winter holidays includes:

  • Pieces of glass ornaments
  • Pieces of other ornaments, like bells
  • Ornament hooks
  • Ornament caps
  • Light bulbs

If your child ever swallows an object (holiday or otherwise), it is best to try and bring a piece of that object or another similar object with you to the hospital so that we can compare it to what we see on your child’s medical images.

While the holidays are a fun and joyous time, we want you to celebrate safely. Ways you can make the holidays safer for your kids include:

  • Keeping glass and small ornaments out of reach of children
  • Supervising small children around holiday decorations
  • Never letting a child put an ornament in his or her mouth
  • Quickly and carefully cleaning up any broken or fallen ornaments

Have a safe and happy holiday season from Cincinnati Children’s Radiology!

Contributed by Dr. Andrew Trout and edited by Tim O’Connor.

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