Baltimore Sun

Parents: Ornaments can be hazardous to the kids

If there isn't enough to watch out for, a new study from Children's Hospital Boston's Division of Emergency Medicine shows that holiday decorations, particularly glass ornaments, can be a safety hazard.

Records there show an average of five ornament-related injuries per year. More than half involve children eating fragments of these decorations, as well as batteries and pieces of glass.
"Parents need to be vigilant during the holiday season, even though it's also a busy time of year," says co-author Dr. Lois Lee, of Children's Division of Emergency Medicine and director of the hospital's Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program. "If you know that your child has a tendency to put things in his or her mouth, you should be especially careful."
The study, which looked back at hospital records, was published in the December 2009 issue of Pediatric Emergency Care.
Out of a total of 76 cases:
-56 percent involved ingestion or taking fragments of ornaments or light bulbs into the mouth and more than a quarter of these injuries resulted in bleeding of the mouth or gastrointestinal tract;
-27 percent of cases involved lacerations; more than two-thirds of lacerations required surgical repair;
-85 percent of cases required radiological screening;
-three patients were examined for potential toxin exposure;
-two patients experienced minor electrocution;
-one case of ingestion involved an ornament not made of glass.


Because so many kids get hurt, researcher recommend health care professionals talk to parents about their decorations. They suggest keeping toddler away from the Christmas tree by putting a gate around it or keep ornaments off lower branches.  And make sure the tree won't easily fall over on someone.

Anyone else have suggestions to keep things merry this time of year?


Associated Press photo of glass ornaments