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Be Aware of Hidden Holiday Dangers

11:55 PM, Dec 24, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC - Gift wrap, ribbons, bows and bags, the joys of Christmas morning. Did you know all those items can pose a danger to your child and turn the day from joy to a trip to the emergency room?

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 181,000 children were treated in the hospital for toy-related injuries in 2010. That includes lacerations, contusions, abrasions, and choking to name a few.

"A lot of time parents say well maybe we'll just wait a little while, maybe it's going to get better, these are things that you really have to go to the emergency room immediately. Choking hazards, swallowing things, you're not sure if the child has swallowed something, burns, cuts, definitely, you need to go to the emergency room," explains Dr. Grananda Neil, Doctors Express Urgent Care.

Dr. Neil says another threat is a child accidentally swallowing a new toy's battery.

"One it is a choking hazard so its small and it's shiny and its attractive so certainly they can choke on it, but then it's a battery and there are electrical charges there and once it goes into the system, then it can cause all sorts of havoc," said Dr. Neil.

Holiday decorations pose a threat to your safety, too. More than 13,000 people were treated in emergency rooms during the 2010 holiday season for accidents like falling from ladders while stringing Christmas lights, and cutting yourself from ornaments.

While opening Christmas gifts, you may develop "wrap rage." Experts say it's when people try to tear into the hard plastic around electronics and toys that they end up hurting themselves. The injuries come from sharp objects like scissors or the sharp edges on the packaging.

"Wrap rage is when everybody is totally excited and they're ripping through their gifts, and their cutting themselves and clipping their fingers because the packaging is so tight for protection so sometimes they're using scissors and because they're so excited, they're not really paying attention, and so they get cuts and all sorts of things and it ends up taking them to the emergency room," said Dr. Neil.

To prevent injuries, doctors with Doctors Express and CPSC suggest:

Immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous play things.

To help prevent injuries, adults can open toys and install batteries BEFORE wrapping them and putting them under the tree. 

Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Also, some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.

"It does happen and again, I can't say enough that parents and families need to be sober minded. I mean in the midst of the fun, family, food and all that good stuff, we really need to be mindful, we need to just take a moment to make sure we are being observant," said Dr. Neil.

Tonight at 2 on 11, we speak to a local doctor who has more tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

WFMY News 2

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