Tree ornaments a merry menace for children


Kids are often drawn to the sparkly lights, shiny ornaments and glimmering garland on a Christmas tree – but beware – some decorations can be dangerous for young children.

According to Purva Grover, M.D., a pediatric emergency department physician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, it’s common to see injuries from ornaments in the emergency department.

“The most common injury are the really, really delicate glass ornaments and we’ve seen lacerations and cuts from these,” said Dr. Grover.

Dr. Grover said any cut that won’t stop bleeding, should be evaluated by a medical provider.

In addition to cuts from broken glass, delicate ornaments often have small trinkets inside, which can become a choking hazard.

Dr. Grover recommends glass ornaments, and those with sharp pieces, be put at the top of the tree and out of a child’s reach.

Likewise, animated ornaments that contain button batteries should be kept away from children. If swallowed, a button battery can cause serious internal injury.

Dr. Grover said ornament hooks can also pose a danger.

“The hooks, per se, are not sharp enough for the most part to cause any deep damage to extremities if they were to grab it, but if they were to poke themselves in the eye that’s not good,” said Dr. Grover. “And if they were to ingest it, those are sharp pointed things and can cause a lot of damage.”

After decorating the tree, Dr. Grover recommends doing a sweep of the area to be sure any stray hooks or ornament pieces aren’t lying around for small children to find.

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