Holiday safety tips from the Montreal Children's Hospital - How to avoid a trip to the Emergency Room

    MONTREAL, Dec. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Montreal Children's Hospital wishes
you all a happy holiday season and reminds parents and family members to be
mindful of their children. Last year during the two week holiday period, Many
children were treated for injuries in the MCH ER. More than half of these
injuries occurred at home and were preventable. Injuries such as head traumas
and broken bones from falls, choking on small toys, and poisonings can be
avoided with a little extra supervision and planning.
    The Trauma Programs at The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC urge
you to take the time to keep your children and teens safe and injury free
during the holidays by following the tips below:

    Play safely in the home

    - If you are worried about the potential lead content of the paint used
      on various toys or other product recalls, visit the Consumer Product
      Safety website for more information ( You
      should take recalled toys away from your children.
    - MCH toxicologist Dr. Dominic Chalut also wants to reassure parents that
      there is no need to panic if they discover their child has been playing
      with a toy recalled because of lead paint. "Lead poisoning occurs only
      after prolonged exposure to the substance. There is no need to worry
      about lead poisoning in children who occasionally play with toys with
      lead paint. Their exposure to lead will be minimal."
    - Remember to choose toys appropriate to your child's age and stage of
      development. Young children can easily swallow small parts or
    - Remember pets are not toys; dog bites are very common during the
      holidays. Keep a close watch on small children when they interact with
      dogs or other pets.
    - Falls from heights (countertops, chairs, etc.) or down stairs are a
      common cause of childhood injury. Do not leave babies and young
      children unattended on tables or countertops, even for a second.

    Holiday decorations and entertaining

    - Make sure fragile Christmas tree or other decorations are out of reach
      of small, curious hands.
    - If you visit friends and relatives who do not have young children and
      therefore have not child-proofed their homes, make sure that pills and
      cleaning supplies are out of reach.
    - Remember poinsettia plants are poisonous; keep them out of reach of
      small children. The Quebec Poison Control Centre number is
    - Do not leave lit candles unattended and keep them well out of reach of
    - Supervise your children when they are lighting candles.
    - Do not hold your child in your arms while you are cooking.
    - Keep hot beverages out of reach of your children.

    Debbie Friedman, MCH Trauma Director, encourages kids and teens to be
active and have fun but at the same time the goal is to make sure your
children remain trauma free and not end a great day of winter fun in the
emergency department of a trauma centre.

    While enjoying winter activities such as skiing, sledding, skating,
snowboarding etc., the whole family should remember to:

    - Wear standardized and well-fitting protective headgear and other sport-
      specific equipment.
    - Check the surface of the hill for obstacles, and ensure it is
      designated for the activity.
    - Check ski conditions and avoid icy surfaces. Do not ski in out-of-bound
    - Make sure to receive proper training and instructions about the use of

    Carlo Galli, Injury Prevention Program Trauma Coordinator, reminds
everyone that road safety is especially important at this time of year when
many people are travelling and with the large amount of snow we have had.

    When driving:

    - Make sure car seats and boosters meet approved standards, are properly
      installed and used as per age restriction.
    - Children under the age of 13 should sit in the backseat to avoid injury
      from deployment of an air bag.
    - Always wear a seatbelt.
    - Adhere to traffic lights and speed limits.
    - Avoid using cell phones.
    - Do not leave a passenger in a running car.

    These tips are available in a newly published MCH brochure called Holiday
Safety. Copies can be ordered by calling Terry Seguin at 514-412-4307.

    On behalf of everyone at The Children's please have a happy and safe
holiday season and a healthy New Year.

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Dutton, Manager, Public Relations and
Communications, The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC, (514) 412-4307

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