TODDLER HOLIDAY HAZARD: Candles (on the tree, in the menorah, as décor around the house)
One accidental bump could cause a burn or a house fire. Candles are a big part of everybody’s celebration, no matter which holiday you observe. Although lovely and atmospheric, however, they increase the risk of fire during the winter months.
“We see a lot more accidental fires at holiday time thanks to candles, heaters, dried-out trees and overloaded sockets,” says Rene Hopkins, RN, coordinator of Safe Kids East Central, led by MCGHealth Children’s Medical Center in Augusta, Ga.
Smoke inhalation from a house fire can be particularly dangerous to young children—their heartbeat and breathing rates are much faster than those of adults, so the smoke can circulate and harm their body tissues more quickly.
PREVENT AN ACCIDENT:
• Use battery-operated flameless candles. They’re made of real wax and provide real ambience, but without the flame—or peril.
• Put new batteries in your smoke detectors before the holidays. And store extra batteries for all those presents your child will be opening. “You don’t want people tempted to remove smoke alarm batteries when their 3-year-old starts screaming that he wants to play with his new toy,” exclaims Hopkins.
• If you must have real candles, never use them on your tree or leave the room while they’re burning. Also, keep candles away from windowsills, mantles and curtains. It takes just seconds for a spark from a candle to burst into a flame.
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