Tis the Season to Be Poisoned

Posted in:
Carbon monoxide
Food and drink
Christmas & Winter Holidays

Many accidental poisonings occur when parents are distracted. Holiday activities and holiday entertaining certainly increase this risk. During the excitement of the holidays, temptations for children are often more than they can handle. Take a few minutes to poison-proof your home and make this holiday season a safe one.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…

Holiday plants may brighten your surroundings, and many are safe, but a few are hazardous.

  • The poinsettia’s reputation is worse than it merits. In reality, the poinsettia is a minimally poisonous plant. If ingested in very large amounts it may cause varying degrees of irritation to the mouth or nausea or vomiting.
  • Mistletoe and its berries can be very poisonous, and have proven deadly when ingested in quantity. Our suggestion: substitute with the plastic variety and kiss the real one good-bye.
  • Holly berries attract young children who mistake the red berries for candy. Ingestion can make a child very sick.
  • The Jerusalem Cherry closely resembles a cherry tomato. Children frequently fall victim to eating this forbidden fruit. If any part of this plant is ingested, call the Poison Center immediately.
  • Christmas trees are non toxic, but the spines may cause injury to the mouth and throat if ingested. Drinking Christmas tree preservatives is common with children, but is of little concern if the amounts swallowed are small.

Deck the Halls…But Do It Safely

  • Christmas tree ornaments, often made of metal or plastic can be dangerous. They can block air ways and can cut the skin and digestive tract.
  • Angel Hair (made of finely spun glass) can cause irritations of the eyes, skin, and digestive tract.
  • Bubbling Christmas lights contain fluid that is at least 50% methylene chloride which can be dangerous if ingested.
  • Icicles and tinsel have metallic components of 40% tin and 60% lead, however, in this form, they are not digestible and are poorly absorbed. When ingested they are expected to cause only mechanical problems, but lead poisoning is not a concern.
  • Gift wrap often contains toxic metals. Do not allow children to chew gift wrap and do not burn it in the fireplace.

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow…

Besides alcoholic beverages that are in abundance at holiday times, perfumes, colognes, and aftershave products contain high amounts of alcohol. Don’t leave gift perfumes under the Christmas tree or in places where little hands can get to them. Even small amounts of alcohol can be harmful to children.

Should a poison emergency arise during the holiday season or any other time, contact the Texas Poison Center Network immediately at 1-800-222-1222.