ACEP's Fable

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I am, I am embarrased to say, more familiar with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) than I am with the PBS TV show SeeMore's Playhouse.

At any rate, the college Thursday released its annual tips on keeping kids safe from the dangerous objects that Aunt Ida keeps wrapping and sending every St. Swithens Day or Festivus or whatever holiday one celebrates.

This, year, it is teaming with the TV series to promote toy and kid safety.

Turns out scooter falls are a big problem, which I can believe. It's bad enough when you bang the befestivus out of your ankle just picking one of those Razors up. Did anyone ever notice the irony of encouraging kids to play with Razors?

Also, keep that mistletoe well out of reach. It's poison. Think of it as the kiss of death.

Here, as a public service, is the college's list of tips. And a tip for Santa. While you're up on the housetop click click clicking (is he changing channels up there?), better take another gander at the glorious fill for the stockings of Little Nell and Bill.

ACEP points out that "young children can choke on balloons, marbles, small balls and toys with small removable parts," like dolls. It also warns not to buy any toys with points or sharp edges or long strings (guess yo-yos will have to go-go). And no toys that shoot anything or have any small parts that can fly off.

Read on, McDuff:

"When selecting toys for children, pay careful attention to the age recommendations on the package.  Age warnings on toys refer to the presence of small pieces that might represent choking hazards, not the maturity level of the child.  Well-meaning friends and relatives also may need guidance on what toys are appropriate, particularly those who do not have young children.                                                       

"Do not hang fragile glass ornaments within reach of toddlers; they may break if pulled by a small child, creating the risk of a cut.

"Avoid toys that shoot small objects or include parts that fly off, which can cause serious cuts and injure eyes.  Make sure children wear appropriate protective gear (e.g., helmets, kneepads) and have the needed skills to use riding toys, such as nonmotorized scooters.

"Be certain the Christmas tree is secure and cannot be pulled over easily by a child reaching for a low hanging ornament.

"Keep holiday mistletoe out of reach of young hands, because it is a poisonous plant. Poinsettias, despite what you may have heard, are not poisonous.

"Remember that holiday cooking means lots of people in the kitchen. Use back burners and keep pot handles turned inward to prevent children from pulling them down.

"Block children’s access to electrical outlets used for extra holiday lights in the house.  Make sure outlets are not overloaded and that extension cords are out of reach.

"Prevent burns and fires by using extra care with candles and closely supervising children around fireplaces and space heaters.  Children should be supervised whenever a flame is present.

"Avoid fatal choking hazards. Young children can choke on balloons, marbles, small balls and toys with small removable parts. Make sure that all the toy parts, including eyes, noses and ears on stuffed toys or dolls, are secured tightly.  Don't buy toys with long strings or cords, which can cause strangulation, and don’t buy toys with sharp edges and points.

By John Eggerton

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