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Family celebrating the holidays at home and connecting with loved ones virtually.

Avoiding Viruses and Injuries this Holiday Season

By Dr. Sherie Austin, Courthouse Pediatrics

The December holiday season is one we look forward to all year as a time to gather together to enjoy festivities, exchange gifts, and celebrate traditions. The pandemic will no doubt change this year’s holiday season, making it a good year to simplify and focus on what’s most important to families.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending against gathering with anyone outside your home during holiday celebrations.

Because of recent surges in COVID-19 cases, it’s a critical time to maintain social distance of 6 feet from people outside your household, wear masks, and practice good hand hygiene.

If you do choose to gather with people outside your household, it’s best to limit the duration of time and the number of people at your event and look for outdoor settings.

Discuss disappointment of changed plans with your kids.

If your holiday plans are going to be different, start talking with your children a few weeks before the event or holiday. Let them know that you feel disappointed, too. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. Validate those feelings, discuss why you’re doing things differently, and help them appreciate the importance of these changes.

Come up with festive alternatives.

If your extended family is used to gathering together for a meal, plan a meal over Zoom or FaceTime. Have people share favorite recipes, special memories, and ideas for family gatherings when the pandemic is over.

You can plan a virtual event for your special celebration, like lighting your menorah or kinara candles or decorating your Christmas tree.

Take turns hosting small virtual celebrations, such as having one family holding a holiday singalong on Zoom, another coordinating a dance party, and another hosting a quiet time for prayer or storytelling.

Send your favorite holiday treats, special mementos, or small gifts to friends and loved ones, and open them together over Zoom or Facetime. 

Childproof your home to keep the holidays safe.

Since you’re probably going to be spending more time at home, make sure it’s safe during the holidays. If you have a real tree, make sure the tree stand is always filled with water, so the branches don’t dry out and pose a fire hazard.

If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s made from fire-retardant material. To avoid tip-overs, ensure your tree stand sits flat on the ground and decorate the tree to equally distribute weight.

Don’t leave children alone in a room with lighted candles, matches, lighters, fireplaces, or other sources of heat or flame.

Keep mistletoe, holly berries, and poinsettias away from children and pets as they are toxic when ingested. Keep decorations out of reach of children. Any object small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube can obstruct the airway of a child.

Don't overload indoor or outdoor electrical outlets. Circuits that are overloaded with lights, decorations, and accessories can start a fire.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.