Doernbecher Children's Safety Center, Oregon Poison Center Offer Tips To Prevent Holiday Hazards

12/16/05  Portland, Ore.

The holidays not only hold special meaning, but special risks. To ensure a happy and safe holiday season, the Doernbecher Children's Safety Center and the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University offer the following helpful tips:

The holidays not only hold special meaning, but special risks. To ensure a happy and safe holiday season, the Doernbecher Children's Safety Center and the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University offer the following helpful tips:

Handle decorations and lights with care:
* Delicate glass ornaments can break and cause cuts.
* Holiday lights can pose an electrical risk.
* Fire-colored crystals, and fire salts can be very irritating and potentially harmful.
* Spun glass, or angel hair is irritating on contact; keep it away from eyes, skin and mouth.

Avoid fire hazards:
* Keep matches out of sight and reach of children.
* Don't leave burning candles unattended.
* Don't burn wrapping paper or evergreens in the fireplace.
* Be sure smoke detectors are working; replace dead batteries.

Keep poisonous plants, decor and gifts away from children and pets:
* Mistletoe leaves and berries are poisonous if swallowed. Amaryllis also can be poisonous.
* Bubble lights contain a liquid called methylene chloride, which is toxic if swallowed.
* Some artificial snow sprays are toxic. Avoid inhaling fumes, and exposing eyes or skin.
* Perfume, cologne and aftershave look pretty and smell sweet, but they contain alcohol and can be poisonous if swallowed.

Watch out for holiday plants that can irritate skin:
* Poinsettias aren't poisonous, but can irritate the skin and stomach if handled or swallowed.
* Balsam, juniper, cedar, pine and fir branches can irritate the skin or mouth when touched or swallowed.

Properly store food and medications:
* Holidays means visits from family and friends young and old. Be sure medication has child-resistant caps and is kept out of reach of children
* Wash hands after handling raw food; promptly refrigerate dips, eggs, cheeses and meats.

The Doernbecher Children's Safety Center is dedicated to reducing unintentional injuries in children through education and distribution of safety products. For more information, please call 503 -418-5666. If you suspect your child has been poisoned, call the Oregon Poison Center immediately. The toll-free number is 1 800-222-1222.