Holiday Home Hazards

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

November 29, 2006

Holidays often bring joy to some people, and unwanted pressure to others. What you might not know is that the season also brings a spike in emergency room visits by children.

The Blue Ridge Poison Center told us a home decked out for the holidays could be deadly.

A nicely decorated home can be inviting for friends and family during the holidays. It provides a nice environment for festivities, but not for children.

"Kids are taken out of their environment at home. Most parents don't have their homes child-proofed, and they will go to either an uncle, or aunt's house who don't have children. They'll go to a grand-parent's house, and get into things that they otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to get into," said Doctor Christopher Holstege of the Blue Ridge Poison Center.

Dr. Christopher Holstege is director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center. Within the University of Virginia Hospital System, his office said kids often get into pills, alcohol, and lamp oils during Christmas. If eaten, they could cause severe poisoning. Plants on the other hand bring in calls for choking, and not poisoning as some people may believe.

"Most of the plants that are out there though for Christmas are fine. They are not of significant toxicity," said Dr. Holstege.

Sue Kell of Albemarle County keeps her home protected even though her kids have moved out. She does it for her Border Collie Millie and the chance that visitors drop by with kids.

"One way to do that for us is to put things up, out of reach, and out of sight. Hopefully, younger kids won't climb up into the upper cabinets, and get to them," said Sue Kell.

Kell knows every day items can be a problem in any household. She also knows things on a Christmas tree can create problems for toddlers and pets.

"For glass ornaments we worry about that because the little glass shards may be dangerous to a child, or even the pets."


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