Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle: California Poison Control cautions how unexpected holiday hazards can spoil the season

The most wonderful time of year can bring the most unexpected hazards. That’s why California Poison Control offers these important safety tips to help everyone have a safe holiday season.

Holiday Gifting
Holiday gifts that use “button” batteries are a potential choking hazard, and if swallowed, can cause serious injury. Keep all batteries away from babies, children and pets.

Be careful about giving old and some foreign-made toys as they may contain lead.

Foil and colored gift wrapping paper could contain lead, so don’t let babies or pets chew on it.

Deck the Halls
Be careful when decorating with tinsel and icicles — the thin sparkly material often entices kids and pets to ingest them. This can be deadly as it causes choking or creates obstructions.

Broken Christmas tree ornaments can be a choking hazard for young children.

Be cautious when using antique ornaments; they are often decorated with lead-based paint.

Eat and Be Merry
Take steps to prevent food poisoning. Avoid cross-contamination by cleaning counters/cutting boards with hot soapy water in between recipes.

Wash hands often with soap and water.

After meals, refrigerate leftovers promptly.

Keep alcohol out of the reach of children. Alcohol poisoning is a serious emergency.

Keep Spirits Bright​​
Vaping (e-cigarettes) are a special hazard for children. The colorful e-liquid is especially tempting; as little as one teaspoon can kill a child.

Children of all ages should be kept from marijuana (cannabis) exposure. Exposure can be either by breathing in secondhand smoke or eating foods containing marijuana (edibles).

Help children avoid temptation (and resultant ills) by keeping all medicines, cleaning products, and personal care products out of their reach.

To learn about other unexpected holiday hazards, see this CPCS video and read tips on this CPCS webpage.

About CPCS
Call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for questions about poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.