Don’t Let a Poisoning Spoil Your Holiday Season
Here is a list of possible “Holiday Hazards” the Tennessee Poison Center believes you should know about to keep your children safe during the holidays. If you think someone has been poisoned, call Tennessee Poison Center right away—1-800-222-1222. All calls are free of charge. Interpreters are available as well.
ALCOHOL: Even small amounts of alcohol can have significant medical effects on children. Watch where you leave your half full glass of holiday “cheer”. Denatured alcohol also is found in many gifts, such as perfumes and colognes. The nice fragrance often attracts a child to drink a product.
CHRISTMAS TREE GARLAND, TINSEL, ICICLES, etc.: If eaten, these decorations should not cause a poisoning; however, they can cause blockage in the stomach or intestines.
CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS: Made of thin metal, plastic, wood, glass, etc., are of great concern for their potential to cut or obstruct the mouth or stomach if eaten. However, the dry paint or coloring on these objects is usually not a source of poisoning. Any foreign object which is swallowed could potentially cause serious harm.
JERULSALEM CHERRY: The Jerusalem cherry is considered to be a poisonous plant and should be kept out of the reach of children. It is unclear how many of the brightly colored fruit would have to be eaten to produce problems, but Tennessee Poison Center can give advice on the treatment for a child who has eaten the berries.
MISTLETOE: Certain varieties of mistletoe contain substances which have been reported to cause serious effects on the nervous system, blood pressure, and the heart. Mistletoe berries have the greatest potential for causing problems, although the entire plant is poisonous. Keep mistletoe out of the reach of children and pets. Promptly call Tennessee Poison Center for further information if you suspect a poisoning.
POINSETTIA: There is considerable disparity in reports regarding the potential danger of the different varieties of poinsettias. Tennessee Poison Center, based on the review of evidence from many sources, believes that serious poisonings probably do not occur from eating parts of the domestic varieties of poinsettia. It is possible for children who plays with the leaves of this plant to rub their eyes and experience redness and local irritation to the eyes and skin. Rarely have cases of upset stomach been reported from ingestion of the plant.