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Health Minute: Child Safety During The Holidays

By: Claude

The holidays are a great time to be thinking about children’ s health and safety care, as illness can spread rapidly during the winter months. Michelle Oetjens, family nurse practitioner with Adventist Medical Group has some preventative tips to help keep kids safe and healthy for the holidays.   

What illnesses are active this time of year and how can they be identified? 


The most widespread by far is the common cold, but there is also the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and over the last few years, COVID-19. Many of these illnesses have similar symptoms and can typically be treated using traditional over the counter medications, resting and staying hydrated. If you are concerned about your overall health, or the effects of your symptoms, always make sure you check in with your primary care doctor.  


Are there any preventative measures we can take to protect our kids from illness?  


Absolutely, being proactive can help limit the spread of germ causing agents, it can also give you the best amount of protection. Starting at 6 months of age, children can begin to receive vaccines for COVID-19 and the flu. Children also should be instructed on proper hygiene techniques, including hand washing and covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough. Mask wearing is also still recommended for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.  


How can we keep our kids active over the holidays?  


It can be very difficult to find the time for exercise and being outdoors during the holidays. Make outdoor time a family event, take a walk or play a sport. If it’s snowing outside, spend some time outside moving around and being active.  


December is also National Safe Toys and Gifts Month; do you have any recommendations for keeping children safe while playing with new toys?  


When toys are brought into the home, it is important that you check the age recommendation. Toys with smaller pieces should be kept out of reach from children. Keep a close eye as new toys are played with and have a discussion with you children on how to correctly use their new gifts. Using new toys can become dangerous if they are not played with correctly. Monitor battery access, make sure they are inaccessible to small children.  


What are some other safety tips you would recommend for kids around the holidays?  


Be aware of electrical hazards, keep power strips, cables and strands of lights away from small children. Cooking can be a fun family activity this time of year, but always monitor the kitchen, when the oven or stove top are in use. Also, sharp items should be stored appropriately, and away from small children.  If you think something could be a safety hazard, take a moment to clear away the hazard. The holidays can be very busy, don’t pass on an opportunity to protect yourself and loved ones from everyday safety concerns.


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