A group of people plating food
By Elizabeth Dwyer Sandlin

Making Merry

Holiday Safety Tips & Reminders

As we head into weeks filled with cozy gatherings and delicious meals, it’s important to stay mindful of best practices for keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, and the New Mexico Poison & Drug Information Center (NMPDIC) has you covered. Here are some tips and reminders in mind as you celebrate this holiday season.

Food and Alcohol

Eating and drinking are two of the most common components of making merry. Remember to wash your hands, utensils, countertops, and cutting boards before and after food preparation, especially when working with raw meat or eggs. Use separate surfaces and cutting boards for meat prep, and cook all meats to the recommended internal temperature. Be sure to pop those leftovers in the fridge no more than two hours after a meal!

Keep all alcoholic beverages out of reach of children and beware of unfinished alcoholic drinks. As little as 3 ounces of hard liquor can be fatal to a child weighing 25 pounds.

Holiday Decorations and Toys

Some of the prettiest seasonal décor is surprisingly dangerous. For example, Angel Hair is made of spun glass, which can severely irritate the eyes and mouth, causing a lot of pain. Snow spray can cause severe damage if sprayed directly into the eye.

Do not ingest the liquid in snow globes, as harmful bacteria can accumulate. Fireplace powders and logs that burn different colors often contain heavy metals, which can cause severe stomach pain and intestinal irritation. Burn with caution and in well-ventilated spaces!

“Some toys and decorations are battery-operated,” says Jacqueline Kakos, MS, NMPDIC health education consultant. “Small button batteries, such as those in hearing aids, are attractive to young children and can cause serious injury if swallowed. Supervise children closely while playing with battery-operated toys and keep all batteries out of sight and reach of children and pets.”

Toxic Holiday Plants

Most of us know by now to keep our pups and felines away from the poinsettia, but there are quite a few other plants that can be harmful to kids and pets. To stay on the side of safety, make sure all your plants are out of reach from children and fur babies. Other toxic holiday plants include mistletoe, azalea, rhododendron, amaryllis, Christmas berry, holly, winter broom, Jerusalem cherry, chrysanthemum and Christmas peppers.

Medications and Other Substances

With family and community gatherings at their annual peak, remember to keep all medications and personal care items out of sight and reach of children and pets. Remind your visitors to do the same! This includes any products containing CBD, THC, or other components of marijuana.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

In the event of a poison or toxic ingestion incident, call the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center (NMPDIC) at 1-800-222-1222.

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