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Safely enjoy the holiday season

The holiday season can be fraught with activities, including get-togethers with family and friends of all ages, near and far. With a little forethought and preparation, says Ben Hoffman M.D., medical director of the OHSU Doernbecher Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Center and professor of pediatrics in the OHSU School of Medicine, families can better avoid holiday-related pitfalls.

“Be extra vigilant and aware of potential hazards that might be present when visiting relatives and friends,” says Hoffman. “We spend a lot of time safety-proofing our own homes, and we sometimes take for granted that others homes will be just as safe.”

OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital offers a checklist of precautions, from reviewing fire safety tips with the family to keeping common baking ingredients, such as vanilla and almond extracts, out of reach of small children -- they contain high levels of alcohol and may be harmful when ingested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines key health issues that may be overlooked during the holidays, such as managing stress: “Take time to enjoy the season. Be careful not to over-commit or over-spend.”

And when the season comes to an end, be sure to take down those holiday decorations safely. Holiday-related ladder injuries are particularly common, so use the proper step-stool or ladder to reach high places and start your New Year off healthy.

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