'Tis the season for injuries | Centennialcitizen.net – Centennial Citizen

Dr. Ben Usatch said while the holidays are all about joy and bringing good cheer, no member of the family is immune to accidents that can result in an unplanned visit to the local ER.
Usatch, an emergency medicine physician and medical director for UCHealth Hospital Highlands Ranch, said holiday injuries start early with the cold weather and continue with holiday decoration hanging through to Christmas, when presents are opened and can cause unexpected injuries.
Dr. Eric Hill, a HealthOne emergency room physician at the Medical Center of Aurora, said the holiday season is the start of winter, which means more ER visits with people who have slipped and fallen on icy, slippery surfaces.
While the Front Range has not had a lot of snowfall and cold weather so far this autumn, Hall said as more snowstorms and cold weather come in early 2022, doctors always anticipate an uptick in urgent care visits.
Besides cold weather bringing winter injuries, holiday-related injuries ramp up around Thanksgiving, which is the start of the holiday season, Usatch said. This is the time when families start putting out holiday decorations, hanging lights and signs.
Usatch said it is common for family members to venture into hanging lights and signs without someone serving as a spotter under the ladder. Common injuries associated with decoration hanging includes bruises, lacerations and broken bones.
“Just be safe and ask someone to serve as a spotter,” Usatch said. “It is easier to have the help there than to fall and break something, get a concussion or have lacerations.”
Hill said as Christmas celebrations are held and gifts are given throughout the season, hospitals see a variety of toy-related injuries and issues.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2020 there were 198,000 toy-related injuries that required a visit to a U.S. hospital. Of those, males accounted for 57% of those injured and 75% of the total injured people were under age 14.
Hill said one of his biggest concerns around the holidays is with babies and toddlers who regularly stick something in their mouth, ear or nose.
“Kids tend to put the small pieces from toys in various places,” Hill said. “Kids will start complaining about pain and problems. When they come to us, we find the pieces in the nose, ears or throat. These cases need special tools to fish them out.”
In situations where the child swallows a toy, Hill said the customary response from doctors is to wait. Doctors wait to see if the child can pass it naturally through a bowel movement.
In situations where a child swallows a magnet, such as the popular ball magnet toys, or a button battery, Hill said there is more concern.
“The button batteries cause more concern because their makeup can cause burning and pain inside the stomach,” Hill said. “The magnetic balls can attach and pinch the inside the intestine, causing bowel perforation. This can require surgery to fix.”
Usatch and Hill said hospitals also see patients who are not used to the new toys and gadgets they get for Christmas. Without being used to a new bike, electric scooter, hover board or other riding toys, kids often fall and get hurt. Common injuries associated with riding toys can start with minor cuts and bruises or lead to more serious concerns with concussions and broken bones.
Usatch said a common rule of thumb for parents to follow with any riding toy is to make the helmet an accompanying gift.
Hill said he is always surprised with the older patients that come in on Christmas. It’s not just kids playing on the riding toys, he said.
“We have seen cases where grandparents will be out having fun and trying to ride the toys too,” Hill said. “This leads to them falling and getting hurt.”
Hill said in one case he managed, a 72-year-old grandmother tried to ride a hover board and ended up falling and breaking her hip.
Both Usatch and Hill said parents should read consumer studies on toys and gadgets, making sure they are age-appropriate and understanding the common injuries that are reported with each item.
Over the last few years, drones and flying toys have become a popular item. Either flying them inside or outside, Usatch and Hill said, inexperienced users can mismanage them and either hurt themselves or others in the process. Eye injuries are common with some of the flying toys, Usatch said.
This year, due to supply-chain issues, Hill said parents might be trying to find whatever they can, which means buying more generic, knockoff items that may be more unsafe than the name-brand options.
In this case, Hill stressed parents should pay attention to the consumer reports because generic versions could be more dangerous.
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