During the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is easy to overlook items in your home that could cause a poisoning. The number of poisoning incidents involving children typically increases during the holiday season. The Idaho Poison Center offers a few tips on how to keep your holidays safe this year:
- Visiting relatives may bring their medications. 59,000 children go to emergency departments every year for a poisoning, and 48% of these cases involve children accessing grandparents’ medications. When visitors arrive for the holidays make sure to store their medications up and out of reach. You may want to store medications in a locked box.
- Disc batteries may be found in toys, games, watches, remotes, and musical greeting cards. If swallowed, they can become lodged in the throat and cause serious injury or death if not removed. Also avoid toys that contain magnets since they may be harmful if swallowed.
- Alcohol is found in holiday drinks and in gifts such as perfume and cologne. It is important to clean up immediately following all holiday parties. Remove all items that may contain alcohol and keep out of reach of small children. Remember to empty all ashtrays – a few swallowed cigarette butts is enough to harm a child.
- Lamp oil in candle lamps may be colored and look like beverages to small children. It only takes a small amount to cause choking and a chemical pneumonia if it goes into the lung. Aroma and fragrance oils smell good and attract small children, but they also can be a choking hazard and could cause vomiting.
- Keep small children and animals away from seasonal plants such as mistletoe, holly berries, yew plants, and poinsettias. Poinsettias are not the fatal poison they were once believed to be, but in large amounts they can cause upset stomach.
- Christmas tree icicles, tinsel, and garland can be choking hazards if they are swallowed. Snow sprays help with holiday décor, but the pressurized container may cause eye damage if sprayed directly in the eye. Glitter can be irritating to the eyes and lungs. Snow globes often have glitter, water and may contain glycols, but usually in low concentrations.
- Remember your pets this holiday season. Chocolate, raisins, grapes and some nuts can be very toxic to animals.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center offers tips on holiday safety and poison prevention. When you call 1-800-222-1222, you will talk immediately to a registered nurse or pharmacist 24/7/365.