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Fall Safety Series with Dr. Sharma - Issue #4: Holiday Safety Tips
11/22/2013

Dr. Ritu Sharma of Chilton HospitalShopping Safety:

  • Don’t buy more items then you can carry, or have an employee help you carry things to the car.
  • Don’t leave any packages in the back seat of your car, or anywhere visible.  Make sure they are in the trunk.
  • When going to your car, have your keys already out. This keeps away thieves who may be waiting for someone to prey on. 
  • Keep your purse and wallet close to deter pick pockets.
  • Designate a central meeting place in case you are separated from your children or family members.
  • Teach your children to ask mall employees or security for help if they are lost.
  • Always accompany kids to the bathroom, no matter how independent they are.
  • Do not leave children in the toy/video game store as a surrogate for a babysitter. 
  • If you feel that you may be too distracted to take care of your kids while shopping, make other arrangements for their care.

Toy Buying Tips:

  • Purchase toys that are appropriate for both the child’s age and skill level.
  • To prevent burns, only use battery-operated toys rather than ones that plug-in.
  • Toys that have parts smaller than 1.25 inches in diameter or 2.25 inches long are potential choking hazards.
  • Be careful with anything that has small batteries or magnets. These can cause stomach and intestinal problems if swallowed.
  • Anything that has a string that is more than 12 inches long is a strangulation hazard. This includes ribbon for wrapping.
  • Children can suffocate on wrapping paper, bows and ribbons as well as pieces of balloon or deflated balloons.

Food Preparation Tips:

  • Fully cook all meats. Consider using a food thermometer to help you see when things are ready.
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Do not leave food out for more than 2 hours.
  • Reheat food to 165 degrees to kill any bacteria that may have grown.
  • Wash all vegetables before using them.
  • Keep all utensils used on raw foods separate to avoid spreading any bacteria.
  • Keep all hot foods and drink away from the edges of countertops and table to avoid children from spilling them.
  • Keep the microwave out of reach of children.
  • Do not put the spoon you tasted the food with back into the dish.  This will only spread bacteria and viruses.
  • Do not use dishcloths, they hold onto bacteria. It’s better to use paper towels that can be discarded.
  • Most importantly, wash your hands frequently.

Fire Safety Tips:

  • If buying an artificial tree, check to see that it is fire resistant.
  • Live trees can be fire hazards if too dry. The needles on a live tree are hard to pull out; the trunk will be sticky with resin; no needles will be falling.
  • For live trees cut off two inches from the base and keep it in water to prevent drying out.
  • Keep all trees away from fireplaces, radiators, heaters, hallways and doorways.
  • All lights should have the Underwriters Laboratory label (UL) and are certified for outdoor use.
  • Make sure all bulbs work and there are no frayed wires or loose items before hanging them up. 
  • Always plug into a grounded circuit and never use more than three lights per socket.
  • Turn off lights before sleeping or going away to avoid fires.
  • Keep decorations away from the fireplace and make sure the flue is open.
  • Do not burn wrapping paper because it can cause a flash fire.
    Have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at home.

Ritu Sharma, MD, is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Her practice is at the Chilton Family Health and Wellness Center, 909 Ringwood Ave., in Haskell, NJ. To make an appointment, call (973) 831-6700.

Chilton Hospital is a fully accredited, 260-bed, acute-care, community hospital. It is Five-Star Rated, the highest possible by Heathgrades, for Total Knee Replacement and Heart Failure, for three years in a row and two years in a row, respectively. Chilton is also named a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission for Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia and Surgical Care. Chilton’s reputation in the community has been built on personalized care and many close-to-home services including an Emergency Department, MotherBaby Center, Comprehensive Wound Healing/Hyperbaric Center and Sleep Health Institute. The hospital has nearly completed its $24 million modernization project, which includes the Cardiovascular Interventional Lab, The Breast Center, Total Joint Center, Cancer Center and Surgical Services. The Chilton Health Network is continuously growing with satellite offices currently in Butler, Haskell, Hewitt, Pompton Plains and Wayne, NJ. Chilton Hospital is located at 97 West Parkway in Pompton Plains, NJ  07444. For more information about its facilities and services, or to find a doctor by name, specialty, or location, please visit www.chiltonhealth.org or call 1-888-CHILTON.

Morristown Medical Center
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center
99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center
175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center
97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Goryeb Children's Hospital
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

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