Poison Center Warns of Holiday Risks

December 15, 2005

Contact: Courtney Smith (505) 272-3690; Loretta Esquibel (505) 272-4261


The New Mexico Poison Center warns that there is an increased risk for unintentional poisonings during the holiday season. The potential for poisoning increases as the holidays disrupt the normal household routine and many seasonal objects are brought into the home. "Some of the many festive yet potentially hazardous objects that come into a home during the holidays include alcoholic beverages, plants, food, toys and tree decorations and said Jess Benson, Director of the New Mexico Poison Center .

Alcohol is abundant during the holiday season and is a serious poisoning threat that is very dangerous for small children. The consumption of alcoholic beverages by adults may be imitated by children so it is very important to keep alcohol where children cannot reach it. Alcohol may also be disguised in common gifts such as cologne and after-shave.

Special holiday plants are another hidden holiday hazard around the home. Decorative plants, such as mistletoe, holly, Jerusalem cherry, Christmas rose and Christmas berry can poison curious children. Make sure to keep plants where children cannot reach them.

Food poisoning also increases during the holiday season. It is customary 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 immediately refrigerated 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, aerosol snow spray and evergreen scent spray.

The New Mexico Poison Center is available to help with poisoning emergencies and to answer questions about poisons 24 hours a day. Call toll free - 1-800-222-1222.

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