It is a busy time of year for everyone but especially for those at the Nebraska Regional Poison Center. Spokesperson and registered nurse Joan McVoy says research shows that the number of poisonings involving children increases during the holidays. One of the number one concerns is medications.
McVoy says, “When you have your holiday visitors come in, make sure they storing their medications up, out of reach, out of sight so small children don’t get into them. Teenagers don’t get into them. That is the thing we get most of our calls on is going to be medications.”
The next concern is the disc batteries that are found in toys, games, watches, remotes and musical greeting cards. McVoy says, “Even though we keep talking about this every year, last year over 2,000 kids swallowed disc batteries and that was a 14% increase nationally and also a 14% increase here at our Poison Center. Those things can cause a burn, get lodged in the esophagus and they can definitely be a problem.” They also recommend avoiding toys that contain magnets as they can also be harmful if swallowed.
Alcohol is often given as gifts and it is in perfume and cologne. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center says it is important that adults clean up after holiday parties and remove all glasses that contained alcohol to keep it out of reach of small children. If smoking is allowed inside a home make sure to empty all ashtrays to avoid a child chewing on a cigarette butt.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center also recommends that people keep lamp oil away from kids. It comes in a bottle that resembles a pretty beverage and it can cause serious consequences if swallowed. Keep children and animals away from seasonal plants like mistletoe, holly berries and yew plants.
They also remind pet owners to take extra care this holiday season. Chocolate, raisins, grapes and some nuts are toxic to pets.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center is open 24/7 for those with a question about a possible emergency. Registered nurses are available to take your call around the clock. Keep their number handy – 1-800-222-1222.