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26 November 2010

Controlling holiday hazards

'Tis time to be more than jolly. 'Tis the season to be careful, too.

'Tis time to be more than jolly. 'Tis the season to be careful, too.

"Whether you're putting up a Christmas tree or lighting candles," she says, "taking simple precautions can help make your holidays more joyful and safe."

  •  To help prevent choking, keep round, hard foods and sweets - such mints, nuts and popcorn - out of the reach of young children. Also keep small ornaments, tinsel, small figurines and other decorations away from children.
  • While preparing your home for the holidays, be aware of seemingly innocent and unexpected forms of poison.
  • Keep alcoholic drinks and containers out of reach. Holiday beverages laced with alcohol seem sweet and inviting to young children. Do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended. They could be harmful if consumed by children.
  • Keep common baking ingredients such as vanilla and almond extract out of reach. They contain high levels of alcohol and may be harmful to young children.
  • Keep poisonous plants out of reach. These include amaryllis, azalea, boxwood, Christmas rose, crown of thorns and English ivy. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous, but they can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal distress.
  • Avoid using artificial snow sprays to decorate. These sprays can cause lung irritation if inhaled.
  • Cut back the lower branches of your Christmas tree to avoid eye injuries to small children.
  • Decorate your tree with children in mind. Don't put breakable ornaments, ornaments with small, detachable parts or metal hooks, or those that look like food or sweets on the lower branches where small children can reach them. Also, make sure tree lights are hung out of reach of young children.
  • Keep phone numbers for local poison control centres and emergency medical services by all telephones. And leave a phone number for babysitters so they can reach you while you are out.
  • Keep ipecac syrup in the home for use only on the advice of a poison control centre or a doctor.

 
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