News Release

December 14, 2007

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

You Better Watch Out!

Holiday Hazards Prevention Tips

FARMINGTON, Conn. – It’s the busy season. Parties, baking, decorating, and all the other tasks that occupy us during the holidays, are in full swing. Parents are often stressed and likely to be preoccupied with holiday chores, focusing on the task at hand, says Amy Hanoian-Fontana, community education specialist with the Connecticut Poison Control Center. “They need to acknowledge that they are busy and therefore, more likely to be less observant. Parents may even be unaware of potential poisoning risks for kids during the holidays,” says Hanoian-Fontana. “Holiday homes can easily be made safe for children.”

The poison control center has the following tips to help you keep your holidays safe and merry.

  • Clean up immediately after parties. Spiked eggnog or other alcoholic beverages left on a low table is an invitation for disaster. Alcohol is also in popular gifts, such as shaving lotion, perfume and cologne. Don’t leave bottles of toiletries or perfumes where young children can reach them. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can be lethal to a young child.
  • When swallowed, lamp oil can sometimes get into the lungs and that can lead to a chemical pneumonia. The oils come in a rainbow of colors and look tasty to children. Keep all lamp oil out of children’s reach.
  • Holly, mistletoe, balsam, juniper, cedar, pines and fir may be harmful if swallowed. Mistletoe and holly are especially toxic, and the berries can look enticing. With young children in the home, parents may want to avoid using greens and berries, or at least place them out of children’s reach.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous. A 50-lb. child would have to eat an extremely large amount of a poinsettia plant to experience symptoms, such as an upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea.
  • Heirloom ornaments may contain lead; angel hair and glitter may cause irritation to eyes and/or skin; and aerosol products, such as artificial snow, should not be used without proper ventilation.
  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children. For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts, which could pose a fatal choking hazard and make sure you check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for recalls related to lead and other dangers.
  • Candles can be especially dangerous – for everyone. If you use them, be sure they are up high and where they can’t be bumped and fall over. Keep an eye on them, and put them out as soon as they get low. Most important: be sure all candles are out before leaving a room.

“Sometimes the most obvious hazards go unnoticed by adults who see only familiar holiday surroundings,” said Hanoian-Fontana. “Young explorers see a whole different world.”

If you suspect a poisoning, don’t wait to see what happens, call the emergency poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

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