Toddler and Preschool  |  Infants  |  Thanksgiving  |  Christmas and Winter Holidays  |  Holiday and travel

Holiday Poison Safety

The Bottom Line

Don't invite poison to your holidays! Poisonings increase when families travel. Some holiday decorations and plants can be poisonous. Button batteries and tiny magnets are VERY dangerous if children swallow them! There are several ways to prevent food poisoning. Cleaning up after a party could prevent children from swallowing poisons the next morning.

The Full Story

People celebrate holidays in many different ways: traveling to visit family; hosting family and friends at home; decorating; and exchanging gifts. The list below, in the For More Information section, provides a list of previous Poison Post articles about holiday poison prevention. Click the links to articles that will help you and your family enjoy the holidays safely.

Remember that Poison Control is available around the clock, every day of the year. If someone may have gotten into a poison, use the webPOISONCONTROL® tool, developed by Poison control experts, for guidance online, or call 1-800-222-1222. Both options can provide guidance if someone swallows a poison, breathes it in, or gets it in the eyes or on the skin. It's OK to call if you just have a question about poisons. Poison specialists are nurses and pharmacists with special training in treating poisoning – and they will answer your call, 365 days a year. The webPOISONCONTROL tool is availble 24/7, too, for those who prefer to get their information online.

Take Home Message:

  • Don't invite poison to your holidays!
  • Poisonings increase when families travel.
  • Some holiday decorations and plants can be poisonous.
  • Button batteries, found in toys, remote controls, flameless candles, and many other items, are VERY dangerous if children swallow them!
  • Tiny magnets are also very dangerous if children swallow them.
  • There are several ways to prevent food poisoning.
  • Cleaning up after a party could prevent children from swallowing poisons the next morning.

Rose Ann Gould Soloway, RN, BSN, MSEd, DABAT emerita
Clinical Toxicologist


For More Information

Holiday Poison Safety

Traveling with Children and Hosting Guests

Decorating

Gifts

Poisoned?

CALL 1-800-222-1222

Prevention Tips

  • Keep medicines locked, away from children, when you travel.
  • Provide a safe place for medicines when others visit you.
  • Keep batteries and magnets away from children.
  • If they aren't secured with a screw, tape up the battery compartments on remote control devices and other battery-powered tools and toys.
  • Give visitors a safe place to discard hearing aid and other small batteries.
  • Assign one adult to watch each child during family gatherings.
  • Put left-overs in the refrigerator within two hours.
  • Clean up drinks and cigarette butts right after a party; don't leave them for the kids to find the next morning.

This Really Happened

A toddler slipped away at a large holiday gathering and found his way to the aspirin bottle in his grandmother's purse. Since no one knew how many pills he took nor how many were in the bottle when he found it, he had to go to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment.

Don't let this happen to you. The tips above in "Prevention Tips" and the links to the left in "For More Information" will help you avoid this scenario and other poisonings during the holiday season.