Tuesday, December 16, 2003

You better watch out

Nothing sucks the ho-ho-ho out of the holidays like a list of all the potential safety hazards lurking in a time of eating, drinking and being merry. But KidsHealth has gone right ahead and posted one anyway. There are poisoning dangers from the holly and the ivy, the spray-on snow, the bad eggnog, the liquor-laced punch. There are choking hazards amid the ornaments, popcorn garlands, tree needles and angel hair. There are fire hazards from tree lights, menorah candles, fireplaces all aglow. And accident hazards abounding in the cooking, the sledding, the driving home after drinking the liquor-laced punch. It's good to be alert to the unsafeness of the season, I guess, but I can't help but think this is how Scrooge got started.

Besides, hazard-hunting round-ups like this never get to the real holiday health risks. Like panic attacks from the long lists of things to do, to buy, to plan, to execute. Stress-related heart palpitations at the prospect of spending an entire day with extended family members. Dangerously high blood-pressure levels when the same cranky relatives pick the same fights year after year. Migraines induced by toy instructions written in very very tiny print. Orthopedic problems precipitated by stepping on pieces of unassembled toys. Sleep deprivation from all-night wrapping sessions. None of these ailments are likely to strike children, which is probably why they don't make the "Look out!" lists. But most of them make eating a little poisonous poinsettia look like a mighty good trade-off.

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