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Keep the holidays happy, avoid dangerous items

Ellen Abbott
Some items to keep an eye out for during the holidays.

The Upstate New York Poison Center wants New Yorkers to stay safe this holiday season. They've provided a list of things that can turn a happy holiday into tragedy.

Some things on the list remain after the holidays are long gone, like food safety. Other listed items are seen only during the holiday, like toxic plants- think mistletoe and holly berries. There are also items that can cause choking in young children.

Poison Center spokesman Lee Livermore says many of the calls they get this time of year center on the availability of items that generally aren’t around the house. He says this is especially important to keep in mind if young children are present.

“A lot of things look like something else. So just by the shape, the color, the size of the item, it could look good to them," Livermore says. "It’s like colors of alcoholic drinks in a cup might look like something they usually drink in a juice box.”

Some other items to be wary of include button batteries, there are thousands of calls every year when these small batters become lodged in the esophagus and digestive tract; bubble lights, some of the more vintage lights can contain methylene chloride or other heavy metals, which can be dangerous if ingested.

Livermore also notes that there is a spike in alcohol poisoning calls this time of year. His advice is for people to program the Poison Center Hotline into their cell phones, and call if there is any suspicion of poisoning, no matter what it is. That number is 1-800-222-1222.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.