Experts give advice on how to stay poison-safe this holiday season

West Virginia

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – As you prepare for the holiday season, the West Virginia Poison Center is reminding folks to add “stay poison safe” to their holiday to-do list.

The West Virginia Poison Center has advised those preparing for the holiday season to take precautions in order to “keep the happy in the holidays.” Make sure all foods are cooked properly to avoid foodborne illness and that all meats are safely prepared.

“At the poison center, we always say ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’ So always make sure that your meats are cooked to temperature and you’re serving cold foods cold and hot foods hot,” said Carissa McBurney with the West Virginia Poison Center.

If children will be present at your celebration, make sure there are no unsafe substances such as alcohol or medications within their reach. Experts advise getting down to a child’s level to physically see what they can get into. It is also important to remember that pets are just as likely to get a hold of harmful substances as children.

“A good thing is to after a dinner or an evening that you may have a cocktail, make sure that it’s put away and poured out so that a child or animal doesn’t get into it overnight or get into it early the next morning.”

In terms of holiday gifts, always be careful of button batteries as they can cause life threatening burns if ingested, and watch out for any toys including small parts.

“If it doesn’t match a child’s age level, it could be dangerous and may cause choking hazards,” said McBurney.

The West Virginia Poison Center also offers the following tips to help you have a safe and happy holiday. Those include:  

  1. Consider using artificial holiday plants instead of the real thing. Holly and mistletoe berries are poisonous and should be kept out of the home and away from children and pets.      
  2. Pick age-appropriate toys. Toys above a child’s age level could be dangerous. Toys with small parts can be a choking hazard for young children.  
  3. Make sure all medications are kept up, away, and out of sight of children and pets. If having out of town visitors, make sure they have a secure place to put their medicines. A purse or suitcase is not a safe place to keep medications if there are children or pets around.  
  4. If visiting out of town, make sure to check the hotel or home for potential poisons. Get down to a child’s level and see what they may get into.  

The West Virginia Poison Center has medical experts available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even throughout the holiday season. You can contact the West Virginia Poison Center at 1 (800) 222-1222 anytime during the holidays.

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