California Poison Control urges everyone to have a safe holiday season by following these important safety tips.
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- Make sure your home is “poison proof.” Secure all medicines, cleaning products and personal care products. Poisonings can occur at grandparents’ homes when they may not remember how quickly children can move or how inventive they can be in exploring new spaces.
- If you use alcohol or tobacco, make sure these products are out of reach of children. Vaping poses a special hazard as the colorful e-liquid is especially tempting to children. As little as one teaspoon can kill a child. Children can be exposed to marijuana either by breathing in secondhand smoke or eating foods containing marijuana. Keep your home and car free of the smoke, and keep edibles or drinks in a safe place away from children.
- Keep your Christmas tree fresh with water, and keep all sources of flame well away from the tree. Put fresh batteries in all your smoke detectors.
- Carbon monoxide can be a holiday killer. Never heat a home with a gas stovetop, gas oven or use charcoal indoors. Make sure your chimney flue is fully open before enjoying a holiday evening in front of the fireplace. Keep outdoor generators away from windows. Keep flammables away from floor furnaces.
- Holiday gifts can have flat, coin-shaped batteries. If swallowed, these can cause serious injury. Keep all batteries away from babies, children and pets.
- Lead can still be found in new and used children’s products, like toys, backpacks, lunchboxes and jewelry.
- Don’t let babies or pets chew on foil wrapping paper. It may contain lead. Do not throw this paper into the fireplace.
- Take steps to prevent food poisoning. Prior to food preparation, wash your hands and clean all counters and cutting boards with hot soapy water.
- After meals, refrigerate food promptly.
- Store and serve food only in containers meant for food, and never put non-food items in food containers.
- If using snow spray or flocking the tree indoors, be sure to open windows while applying it. Solvents in the spray cans may cause nausea, lightheadedness and headache.
Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for help. 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. Visit www.calpoison.org, 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.