Holiday ornaments are just as dangerous as we thought

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Now we know for sure: Small holiday ornaments are not inherently dangerous -- unless they’re eaten.

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston analyzed the perils posed by holiday ornaments and found that, of ER visits involving the ornaments, more than half involved ingestion. Cuts were also common, some requiring stitches. Electrocution? Not so much of an issue.

Here’s the abstract, published online Dec. 1 in the journal Pediatric Emergency Care. And here’s the news release from Children’s Hospital Boston.

Not even the researchers seemed surprised by their findings, but it’s always good to have such risks quantified. In any case, the report gives us a chance to share an excellent overview about the dangers of swallowing inedible objects from eMedicine.


It begins: ‘As children explore the world, they will inevitably put foreign bodies into their mouths and swallow some of them.’

The article then proceeds to explain just what can happen as a result, how rare such complications are and what should be done in such an event.

As for the new study’s abstract, it concludes: ‘Holiday ornament-related injuries primarily involve foreign body ingestions and glass-related injuries. Over half of the injuries involved small light bulbs and ornaments made of glass placed at the level a toddler can reach. Pediatricians are advised to discuss these points with families during holiday season.’

One might wonder if pediatricians grow tired of discussing the obvious. ‘Keep small light bulbs and ornaments made of glass out of the reach of toddlers’ would seem to fall into that category.

-- Tami Dennis