Top tips to stay safe and healthy at Christmas
Christmas can be a fabulous time of year, but can also prove stressful and dangerous, particularly with houses busier than usual, brimming with over-excited little ones. According to ROSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), more than 80,000 people have to go to A&E with Christmas related injuries.
Take a First Aid course to be prepared should something happen. Below are some key areas to be aware of and first aid tips should you need them:
The combination of hot fat, boiling water and sharp knives is a recipe for disaster! Keep other people (especially children) out of the kitchen. Avoid alcohol until after the cooking, and wipe up spills immediately. Ensure the turkey is well cooked!
If someone is burnt: the affected area should be immediately held under cool running water for at least 10 minutes, ideally longer. Buy a proper sterile burns dressing prior to Christmas to be prepared. If you have not got a burns dressing, the burn can be loosely covered with cling film after it has been cooled for at least 20 minutes. Burns should always be seen by a medical professional. Never pop blisters or apply anything other than water or burn gel. https://firstaidforlife.org.uk/burns-what-to-do/
If someone is bleeding: Immediately apply pressure and elevate the affected area, sit the casualty down, or lie them down with legs raised, if the bleeding is severe. Do not remove anything embedded in a wound apply pressure around it. Keep them calm and warm and get medical help https://firstaidforlife.org.uk/severe-bleeding-and-clinical-shock/
Fairy lights and decorations
About 1,000 people a year are hurt whilst decorating their homes:
Glass and fragile decorations should be out of reach of toddlers and pets. Decorative items that may look like toys, but are not sold as such, do not have to comply with toy safety standards and may be dangerous for your little one to play with. Old lights can cause fires and electrocution. Don’t balance on wobbly chairs, get out a ladder.
Ensure that presents given to your child are in the appropriate age range for them and if older cousins are excitedly opening their presents, be aware of small pieces that may prove a choking hazard to your toddler. Small batteries are often more accessible to little ones at Christmas time as people get caught up in the frenzy of new toys and gadgets.
Should a child swallow a button battery, calmly take them to hospital for an x-ray as a battery could corrode in the stomach rather than pass straight through.
poisonous christmas plants
Mistletoe is poisonous; its berries contain toxins that slow the heart rate and cause hallucinations. The orange berries on the Christmas cherry can cause stomach pains. The Christmas rose causes such violent diarrhoea the ancient Greeks allegedly used it as a chemical weapon!
If you suspect a child has eaten a berry, calmly establish what they have eaten and if anything has been swallowed. Encourage them to spit out anything obvious and remain still, as running around increases their metabolism. Call 111 or 999 and they will consult the poisons database and let you know what should be done. If the child has any change in behaviour, begins to vomit, become sleepy – phone an ambulance immediately. If they lose consciousness – check they are breathing – if so, put them in the recovery position – if not start CPR.
Grandparents and other visitors
The contents of Granny’s handbag could prove lethal! Ensure handbags and plastic bags are kept out of reach of toddlers and crawling babies. Handbags often contain a cocktail of medication, gadgets and implements which are all irresistible to an inquisitive child. Child safety caps on pill bottles will only keep little ones at bay for a short time.
Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year. The combination of drink, relatives, lack of sleep and the burden of Christmas entertaining can prove too much! Try to create somewhere that people (particularly Grandparents) can escape for some peace. Excessive stress can trigger a heart attack.
If you suspect someone might be having a heart attack; calmly sit them on the floor in an upright position to help breathing, with their legs bent slightly to help circulation. If they have a GTN spray they should use it. Call an ambulance. If the GTN spray doesn’t help and they have been prescribed a 300mg aspirin this should be chewed. If they collapse and are unconscious, check for breathing and if not breathing start CPR immediately. https://firstaidforlife.org.uk/cardiac-arrest-would-you-know-what-to-do/
Alcohol reduces risk awareness. After a party, always empty residual alcohol from glasses otherwise early rising children might drink the leftovers in the morning, also ensure that any broken glass has been thoroughly removed. Never drink and drive.
If someone has collapsed due to excess alcohol, ensure they are breathing and put them into the recovery position.
Prior preparation is vital to a successful celebration. Ensure you have an appropriately stocked first aid kit ready for emergencies. Take an online or practical First Aid course now, to ensure that you have the skills to help if there is a medical emergency.
Emma Hammett RGN
First Aid for Life – Award Winning First Aid Training tailored to your needs
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. The best way to learn what to do in an emergency is to attend a First Aid course.