Holiday time means new poison risks for kids

Carolers sing that this is the season of comfort and joy, but Nebraskans are warned they need to be on careful watch during the holidays for potential poisoning hazards for children.

Tammy Noble, a registered nurse and spokeswoman for the Poison Control Center, says something you wouldn’t suspect might be a threat is a bottle of cologne or perfume. Sometimes those items are left accessible and they might be found in gifts under the tree. A small amount of perfume or cologne that’s consumed by a child might get that child drunk very easily as the scents are often very high in alcohol content.

Some Nebraskans may use glass hurricane lamps during the wintertime, lamps that run on oils which often come in colorful hues, like yellow or blue. Noble says even unlit, those lamps could be a hazard. Once the oil is in the hurricane lamp, it’s pretty easy for the child to take the wick out and suck on it or to even drink the oil straight from the lamp. Noble says the oil could slip into the lungs and cause a serious breathing problem, so it should be kept away from kids.

Many Nebraskans are traveling or will be welcoming friends and relatives from afar into their homes during the next few weeks. Noble says to be wary of potential risks posed by unsuspecting visitors. Guests at your house might be traveling with medications that are left accessible in a suitcase or a purse, so children need to be kept away. Likewise, if you’re traveling with children and visit a relative, their home may not be kid-proofed and medications may be within a child’s reach.

Many believe the popular red-and-green holiday plant, the poinsettia, can be fatal if its leaves are consumed. Noble sets the record straight on that. Contrary to popular belief, she says the plant is not as highly toxic as some people may think. Noble says eating several poinsettia leaves may cause a child or a pet to throw up or have an upset stomach, but they’re generally considered safe to have around the home for the holidays.

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is staffed round-the-clock at 800-222-1222, or visit the website.