Article written by: Samuel M. Libber, MD, Annapolis Pediatrics

The holidays are times of great joy, celebration, and sharing with family and friends. Our routines shift, our day-to-day patterns change, and life takes on a different pace. To a child, however, these changes can expose them to a number of risks both inside and outside of the house. Taking a few moments to remind ourselves of these risks may pay gigantic dividends….and maybe even save a life.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, transportation-related accidents rate highest in terms of risk to children. Motor vehicle accidents, in particular, are the most problematic. At holiday time, long car trips, drivers impaired by alcohol or sleeplessness, crowded roads, and poor weather conditions present hazards to kids and their families. Heightened defensive driving, proper seat-belt and car seat use, frequent breaks, and timing trips to avoid high-risk scenarios will all help to lower these risks.

Household injuries, such as falls and burns, also pose threat to kids (and their family members). While celebrating, adults may temporarily let their guard down when supervising their children. Kids can easily fall, harming themselves and potentially requiring emergency care. Candles, electric fixtures, and lit fireplaces can be especially intriguing to small children and can lead to contact burns, scalds, and fires.

Be careful, too, about ingestions. Little children may find their way into bottles of brightly colored pills lying on tables or countertops, or in purses left open from visiting family and friends. In only a short time, a child may consume enough to have a serious or even fatal ingestion. Watch out for mistletoe and holly, both of which have potentially disastrous effects when consumed. Poinsettias have had a bad rap, which has been largely disproven for humans…although not necessarily for pets.

Enjoy your holidays and treasure the time with your family and friends, but remember to be mindful of potential hazards. You will thank yourself for the extra few minutes you take to prevent possible mishaps from happening. Happy—and safe—holidays!


For over 60 years, Annapolis Pediatrics has provided superior healthcare to infants, children, adolescents, and young adults in Annapolis and the surrounding communities. In some cases, we have cared for three generations of families. We strive to provide high quality medical care, from excellent clinical care to a positive customer experience for our patients and their parents.

We have over 30 physicians and nurse practitioners in 5 locations: Annapolis, Crofton, Edgewater, Severna Park, and Kent Island. We also offer M-F walk-in hours at our Annapolis office for short sick visits.

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