A choking emergency can happen anytime, but the holiday season brings unique risks and hazards that families should keep in mind, particularly for little ones. Children under 5 are far more likely to choke than adults. As we move into the busy holiday rush, here are the top hazards parents and caregivers should look out for.
- Christmas trees: Whether your family has a real tree or an artificial one, this Christmas tradition brings some risks for kids who are at the age where they’ll put anything in their mouths. Pine needles and sticks, small ornaments, ornament hooks and tinsel may attract little hands, so frequent checks and vacuuming around the tree are important.
- Nativity scenes and other table decorations: Does your family set out lots of cute seasonal decor? Nativity scenes, Christmas villages and other small figurines often come with little parts that should be kept out of reach of small children.
- Advent calendars: They’re one of the most beloved traditions of the Christmas season, but advent calendars are often filled with treats and trinkets that are the perfect size for a child to choke on. If this is a tradition your family loves, make sure you carefully supervise.
- Gift wrap: Little bits of shiny ribbon, bows and paper may look attractive to kids, particularly when they’re under the Christmas tree and within easy reach.
Nuts: Even more of a choking risk than small objects are certain foods, and nuts are right at the top of that list. A common snack at the holidays, nuts are the right size and firm consistency to make them a major choking hazard.
Candy: Christmas is perhaps second only to Halloween when it comes to how much candy is around. Peppermints, caramels, toffee and other seasonal sweets can have a firm, sticky consistency that makes them stick in kids’ small throats.
As the holidays approach it is important to be prepared with a plan of action, including knowing choking prevention steps like cutting food into smaller pieces and knowing the size of holiday decor that may represent choking hazards. Additionally, knowing proper emergency procedures including CPR, abdominal thrusts, and even anti-choking devices like the Dechoker anti-choking device.
Take a look at the Dechoker devices here.