With busy schedules, extra visitors and new toys, the holidays can introduce new hazards into an environment. According to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, accidental poisonings increase over the holidays.
Jean Hammack, a registered nurse and public education coordinator at the center, said the most at-risk group is toddlers.
“Usually it is the 2-year-olds. That’s the age they’re getting around, they’re more curious, they’re very aware of their environment. I should mention, too, medication that’s in purses where maybe you’re having a holiday gathering - a 2-year-old will easily go to that purse and pull out any medication,” Hammack said.
She said they are many ways to prevent these accidents.
“Keeping things out of the reach, out of the eye level of the toddler. And even for holiday parties cleaning up immediately, pouring out the alcohol beverages,” said Hammack.
Other common risks include unfamiliar medications and perfumes brought by visitors, lamp oil, small batteries, seasonal plants, and even holiday decorations like tinsel and glitter. Hammack pointed out pets are also at risk, so keep items like chocolate, raisins, grapes, and nuts up high.
If someone does ingest something harmful, pharmacists and nurses at the center can evaluate over the phone and advise on the best course of action.
“If it’s a situation where they need immediate care in an emergency room we call ahead and give treatment advice to the healthcare providers, as well,” Hammack said.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center serves all of Wyoming and is open 24/7 every day of the year. The number is 1-800-222-1222.