Christmas decorations such as plants, ornaments and accessories should be kept out of the reach of children. Many of them can cause serious illness and even death to a small child or a dog or cat. Taking a few precautions can make all the difference between enjoying the decorations and having the holiday spoiled by illness.
Among the plants that can cause illness are:
- Azelea, rhododendron, amaryllis, Christmas berry, holly and Jersusalem cherry can cause problems when injected, including nausea and vomiting.
- Christmas pepper and chrysanthemum can cause burning and skin rashes.
- Mistletoe if swallowed can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowiness, blood pressure changes, hallucinations and seizure.
- Poinsettias may cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms but are not highly toxic.
All of these decoration should be put out of reach by a child or accessed by a pet.
Decorations to use with caution
These decorations can be dangerous:
- Angel hair which consists of spun glass can cause severe irritation and pain when it penetrates the skin.
- Colorful fireplace powers and logs contain heavy metals such as lead which can be dangerous when inhaled.
- Oil candle lamps that have liquid fuels that if swallowed can cause reactions that require hospitalization.
- Small tree ornatments, tinsel and icicles are a choking hazard to children and pets.
- Snow spray can cause damage to the eyes.
Each year the holiday season is spoiled because a child or pet has come in contact or ingested a Christmas decoration. The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy’s Poison Center has poison prevention tips which can be useful in avoiding harmful decorations.