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posted on December 20, 2012 15:31

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         Date: Dec. 20, 2012

Contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0693

Medications, cigarette butts top list of calls to poison center during holidays  

The holiday season is a time for celebration and happiness, but the number of poisoning incidents involving children increases during the holidays. More than half of the calls to the poison center at this time of year concern young children ingesting medications left out by visiting family members. Other common questions and calls are about cigarettes, batteries, food poisoning, holiday plants, bubble lights, angel hair, snow sprays, and fireplace color crystals.

Idaho’s Poison Center offers a few tips on how to make this a wonderful and safe time of year: 

  • Keep small children and animals away from seasonal plants such as mistletoe and holly berries, yew plants and poinsettias. Poinsettias are not the fatal poison we used to think, but in large amounts they can cause upset stomachs.
  • Clean and pick up items that may contain alcohol and keep out of reach of small children after all holiday parties. In addition to holiday cocktails, alcohol is found in gifts like perfume and cologne.
  • Empty all ashtrays – it only takes a few cigarette butts to send a child to the hospital.
  • Keep icicles and tinsel away from children because they are choking hazards if swallowed.
  • Keep angel hair away from children.  It is finely spun glass that can cause cuts or irritation when handled or swallowed. 
  • Ask visiting relatives to store their medications out of reach of young children. Never leave medications on a nightstand.
  • Keep buttons or disc batteries away from children because they are choking hazards. They can be found in games, watches, remote controls and musical greeting cards. If swallowed, they can cause serious injury or death if not removed.
  • Post the telephone number of the Idaho Poison Center and your family physician near the phone. If you suspect poisoning, call the Poison Center or your physician before attempting any emergency treatment.

Prevention is the best treatment for poisonings. Idaho’s Poison Center offers tips on holiday safety and poison prevention as a free community service to the public. For more information, please call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

(Editors: For more information, contact the Idaho Injury Prevention & Surveillance Program at 334-6585)