Holiday Season Brings Increased Risk of Poisoning

December 18, 2006

Contact: Lauren Cruse (505) 272-3690


Albuquerque, N.M. - According to the New Mexico Poison Center, there is an increased chance for unintentional poisonings during the holiday season. The hazards of poisoning become more dangerous as the holidays disrupt the normal household routine and many new objects are brought into the home.

"Some of the many festive yet potentially hazardous objects that come into a home during the holidays include plants, toys, tree ornaments, foods and alcoholic beverages," said Jess Benson, Director of the New Mexico Poison Center.

Alcohol is a serous poisoning threat. It is very dangerous for small children. Alcohol can exist in unsuspected gifts such as colognes and after-shave. The consumption of alcoholic beverages by adults may be imitated by children. Because of the abundance and dangers of alcohol during the holiday season, it is important to keep it out of the reach of children.

Another hidden hazard is special holiday plants around the home. Decorations such as mistletoe, holly, Jerusalem cherry, Christmas rose and Christmas berry can poison curious children. Once again, it is important to keep these out of the reach of children.

A third major threat is food poisoning. It is common to leave food out for snacking during the holidays. However, this can increase the chance of food poisoning. All food should be properly cooked, promptly served and refrigerated immediately after each meal.

Other holiday items to keep out of the reach of children include angel hair, batteries, tinsel, concentrated food flavorings, Christmas tree preservatives, fireplace crystals, smoke pellets for toys, aerosol snow spray and evergreen scent spray.

The New Mexico Poison Center is available for poisoning emergencies, questions about poisons, or for information about poison prevention, 24 hours a day, toll free at 1-800-222-1222.

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