STRINGING lights around your Christmas tree or decking the halls with holly is something both children and parents look forward to.
Twinkly fairy lights can really bring your tree and home to life – but a team of paediatric nurses warned parents that some varieties could be dangerous to their little ones.
Battery operated Christmas bulbs can be particularly hazardous, as many of them contain toxic button batteries.
These little coin-sized batteries can cause life-threatening injuries if swallowed and pose a danger to curious toddlers who might open the battery case when rooting around the tree.
The batteries don’t usually leak toxic chemicals, but they react to bodily fluids by releasing a substance like caustic soda that can burn through tissue.
You should take your child to the nearest A&E if you think they’ve swallowed a button battery.
But there are ways to prevent that happening.
The paediatric nurses behind child first aid education page CPR Kids shared a quick trick to make sure your little one doesn’t get into the battery box in the first place.
In a video, the medics showed how to wrap duct tape around the little box housing the batteries to secure it against your curious tots.
They wrote in an accompanying post: “If you have any battery-operated Christmas lights around this festive season, this super simple hack is a quick way to add an extra layer of protection against little hands accessing the batteries.”
CPR Kids recently shared tips on how to baby and toddler-proof your Christmas tree and house as you fill it up with potentially hazardous festive decor.
“Battery safety – including some followers’ close calls and battery-related injuries – was brought up more than once!” the medics noted.
A mum commenting under the post warned other parents it’s not just button batteries that can be hazardous.
She wrote: “A battery leaked in one of our light battery pack I got acid liquid all over my hands when I turned the battery pack off the other night.
“Not realising I put my hand to my face after and it burnt my lip and face.”
Here are four other Christmas safety tips to keep your little one safe this festive season.
1. Comb the house for button batteries
On top of Christmas lights, the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons urged parents to comb through gadgets or toys that might also contain dangerous button batteries.
Your little ones will be spending much more time at home over the holidays, so there’s more opportunity for them to pick up the batteries in items you might have forgotten about.
Meanwhile, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children warned that the batteries can also be found in greetings cards that make a sound, so keep these out of reach if received in your home.
2. Safety check your lights
You should always check whether any of the little bulbs on the lights have fallen off – they’re small enough to present a choking hazard to curious tots who put them in their mouth.
But St John Ambulance Medical Director, Lynn Thomas, also advised that you inspect the cables for any damage or fraying.
Don’t use the lights if you notice either of those things. Instead, you should dispose of the lights safely.
3. Beware of toxic decorations
Nemours Kids Health also warned that other decorations you adorn your house with might be toxic to your little ones.
Plants like mistletoe, holly, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis are toxic if eaten, the child safety experts said.
And while snow sprays might add a frosty touch to your festive displays, they can be hazardous if the powder is swallowed or the aerosol is sprayed into the eyes or on the skin.
4. Be bauble cautious
Baubles are yet another festive item that could be dangerous to your child.
CPR Kids warned parents to be wary of ornaments whose different parts aren’t properly fastened on, sharing a scan of a toddler who ingested the detachable part of a bauble and got it lodged in their throat.
It might be worth getting shatter-proof decorations.