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The holiday season is a time for celebration and happiness. Research shows that the number of poisoning incidents involving children rises during the holiday season. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is easy to overlook items in the home that could cause a poisoning. Wyoming’s Poison Center would like to offer a few tips on how to make this “the most wonderful time of the year.”
• Visiting relatives may bring their medications. Over 50% of the calls to the Poison Center involve medications. NEVER leave medications on a nightstand – make sure to store these up and out of reach.
• Toys may contain disc batteries. If swallowed they can become lodged and cause serious injury or death if not removed. They may be found in games, watches, remotes and musical greeting cards. Also, avoid purchasing toys that contain magnets.
• 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 – it only takes a few cigarette butts to send a child to the hospital.
• Lamp oil in candle lamps is frequently used this time of year. These fuels look like pretty beverages to small children but can cause serious consequences if swallowed. Aroma and fragrance oils commonly used during holidays smell good and attract small children, but can cause vomiting and seizures in large amounts.
• Keep small children and animals away from seasonal plants such as mistletoe, holly berries, yew plants and poinsettias. Poinsettias are not the fatal poison that they were once believed to be, but in large amounts can cause upset stomach.
• Be mindful of icicles or tinsel. Both can be a choking hazard if swallowed. Angel hair is finely spun glass which can cause cuts or irritation when handled or swallowed. Snow sprays help with holiday décor, but the pressurized container may cause eye damage if sprayed directly in the eye.
• Have the telephone number of Wyoming’s Poison Center programmed into your phone. If you suspect a poisoning has occurred, call the Poison Center or your physician before attempting any emergency treatment.
Remember, prevention is the best treatment for poisonings. Wyoming’s Poison Center offers tips on holiday safety and poison prevention as a free community service to the public. If you have questions, contact the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The Poison Center is sponsored by the Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Wyoming Department of Health Office of Emergency Medical Services.