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Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Hazards


Holiday celebrations can bring children and adults in contact with many potential hazards. The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center wants you to be safe this winter season by offering the following safety information:

Food Poisoning

Wash hands and counters before preparing food and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Do not leave food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Cook food thoroughly, and remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Watch for signs of food poisoning: fever, headache, diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting. 


Make sure visitors put their medications in a designated locked area, out of sight and reach of children. Never leave medications on the kitchen counter or nighstand where a child might be able to find them easily. 


Some ornaments are made from glass and could cause cuts in the mouth and stomach if eaten. Family heirloom ornaments and ornaments from other countries may contain lead. Icicles and angel hair contain glass particles that can cause cuts in the mouth. Bubble lights may contain very toxic liquid - avoid if there are small children in the house. For pets, homemade salt ornaments can be deadly. If you plan to hang salt dough ornaments from your tree, place them high where your dog cannot reach them. 


Children may mistake cocktails and punch for juice - clean up drink glasses and punch bowls before going to bed and don't leave alcoholic drinks sitting where children can reach them. Children can become sleepy, silly, and wobbly on their feet. Blood sugar can also decrease, leading to coma and death. 


Poinsettia are considered to be nontoxic to humans and safe to have around. Eating too many leaves may cause stomach upset and the sap may cause a skin rash. Pets may develop mild symptoms with smaller amounts. Holly berries will cause vomiting and diarrhea if large amounts are eaten. Some types of mistletoe berries are poisonous, but most mistletoe found in the United States is non-toxic. Amaryllis can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The bulb is most toxic. 

Button Batteries

Button batteries are small lithium ion coin batteries, small enough to be swallowed without a parent realizing. Batteries can get stuck in the throat and cause internal burns in as little as two hours. They are found in small electronics, hearing aids, watches, singing greeting cards, and more. 

Originally posted: Jun 28, 2016
Last updated: Dec 5, 2018