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Avoid Lurking Poisons During Holiday Season

The lights are hung, the tree is lit and the parties are in full swing. All that is left to do is enjoy the holiday season. But amid the decorations and celebrations, be aware of potential lurking dangers that could harm your family.

Holiday plants : Several plant varieties can be harmful if eaten or even handled improperly. If using plants to decorate for the holidays, choose non-poisonous ones.  Among the toxic holiday plants are gastrointestinal holly, Jerusalem cherry, mistletoe, boxwood and a variety of species of yew. These plants can cause gastrointestinal symptoms and can be dangerous if ingested by humans or pets. Contrary to longstanding belief, poinsettias are not considered toxic when consumed in small amounts.

For more information about toxic plants and poisons in general, call State of Connecticut’s Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

Alcohol : If accidentally swallowed by children and/or pets, alcohol in the form of leftover cocktails can be fatal. Empty beverage glasses and place them out of reach of children and pets.

Prescription medications : Designate a safe, locked place in which to store any medication for any relatives and holiday visitors. Do not leave any medications in backpacks, bags, nightstands or in the bathroom where they could be accessible to children.

Toys : Antique and some internationally manufactured toys could contain lead, which is hazardous to children. For more information about toy safety, call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772.

Candles : Consider using battery-operated faux candles, which are decorative and safe. If you choose candles, place them in secure areas where they cannot fall or be knocked over by children or pets. Remember to use only non-flammable holders. Also keep in mind that small amounts of melted wax are a choking hazard to small children.

Button batteries and magnets : These items are easy to swallow and can cause serious harm to children and pets. But if ingested, button batteries can get stuck in the throat or stomach and cause serious burns. And if two or more magnets are ingested, they can attract one another internally, resulting in serious damage to the stomach and/or intestines.

Fire salts : These additives produce colorful flames in contained fires, but they can produce serious stomach problems if ingested.

Lamp oil : Children can be confused by lamp oil because it can resemble a beverage. But if ingested, the oil can be fatal. Many lamps that use these oils are not child-resistant and should be kept away from children and pets.

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