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Video Transcript: Holiday Hazards

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Video Introduction:

Fast, free, expert help. California Poison Control, 1-800-222-1222. Holiday Hazards. @2019 Regents of the University of California.

Introduction of Cyrus Rangan, M.D. of California Poison Control System.

Dr. Cyrus Rangan:

Here at the California Poison Control System we become very concerned around the holidays when a number of items may be brought into the home that are not normally there during the year. And we also have a time of higher activity level in the home that sometimes make it more difficult to watch our children. And that combination can be problematic and may lead to toxic ingestions or chokeable ingestions that lead to an emergency department visit.

So a number of products that we may bring into our home could include products like this, where they are simply beads that we might put on the tree and if a child pulls on these they can break, and these beads can fall onto the floor and that then becomes a choking hazard.

A number of toys and jewelry also can be gum choking hazards as well. You take a product like this again that we may not have in abundance during the year but during holiday times as we give them as gifts or stocking stuffers, they can be problematic as well.

These products are button batteries and these are batteries that sometimes are used to power our small toys that we give our young kids and sometimes other electronic gadgets that we give to adults as well. So when these batteries are in the home they become not only a choking hazard, but they can also be a toxic hazard. These batteries contain toxic metals and acids that if ingested can become very problematic and burn holes in the areas of our respiratory tree or gastrointestinal tract. So they're not only choking hazards but also toxic hazards.

When it comes to some of the edibles that we bring into our home we look at products like this which look like a chocolate candy bar or a product like this which are gummy chews, but these are actually marijuana containing products. And with the emergence of stores that carry these kinds of products they're becoming much more ubiquitous. And people should understand that although they are sold as food that they should not be treated solely as food when they're inside our homes. These are toxic products and they've never been tested for safety in young children, therefore we should always view them in the same way that we view a medication or some kind of toxic product like a bug spray and keep it out of sight out of reach out of mind when we have young children in the home.

Another set of products that become very problematic as well are products just like this. So here we have a combination of toys and gummy worms. Of course gummy worms are candy but these toys are not and here is the toy and here is the toy and the rest of these are gummy worms. Now a young child who is handling these products may not be able to tell the difference. And as a result a child is picking up these products which are generally made of plastics or rubber they can expose themselves essentially to a choking hazard as opposed to these candies. So always make sure that if you have any toys that look like candies that you should either not have them in your home with young children or be very careful about where you put them and where you store them.

Here's another product that looks a lot like food of course the colors are very attractive to a young child and the texture can be very attractive as well. And so a product like this can be handled by a young child and although is intended to be used as a toy children may put these in their mouths as well. And the capacity is that they may be able to bite a chunk of this off and that presents a choking hazard or this entire object could be swallowed whole or inhaled whole and present an obstructive hazard to our respiratory tree or our gastrointestinal tract that may require an emergency visit to the hospital.

These are chocolate covered nuts or hard candies that we may have in the home during holiday time as well and because of their size and because of the fact that they are hard that presents another choking hazard to young children as well. And these can not only be on a table to present a risk to a young child they could also fall onto the floor and present a risk there as well. So again making sure that you are watching young children around these kinds of products is very very important. And peanuts are basically it's the same kind of principle that you're basically looking at a hard food product that is of course designed to be eaten but however children may uh try to eat these too fast or maybe possibly inhale them and that presents a choking hazard.

Here's another very popular toy as well so these are the make your slime at home products, which as you can see when you look at the individual components of a product like this, a number of these present a choking hazard as well. So it's very important that if you're going to be giving these to young children and having them use them that you always make sure that they use them under your supervision to prevent a choking risk.

Sometimes tobacco products are brought into the home as well and and a box of cigars may be given as a gift uh to uh to a family member. And then once these products are at home and if a child has never really seen them before a child may go up to them and they may handle them and they may even take a bite out of the cigar as well. And that could be very problematic too because only a couple swallows of a cigar or cigar related product is necessary to cause toxicity in a young child that may require a visit to the emergency department.

Products like these have been used forever in our homes these are what are called flocking sprays and what these canisters contain is a white powdery material that we use to flock the tree, but in addition these canisters contain petroleum-based propellants inside. And so what we recommend is that if you're going to use products like these at home, make sure you use them outdoors before bringing the tree inside. And if there's still any odors coming off of that tree leave it outdoors until those odors have dissipated before bringing it inside. Never use these indoors. But probably the best way to keep yourself safe from these products is to simply have your tree flocked professionally at a tree lot before bringing it home.

Ornaments that we may put on the tree can be problematic too. If a tree is overloaded with ornaments sometimes ornaments will fall off spontaneously throughout the day and if they fall on the ground they can shatter and present a chokeable risk potentially for young children who come into contact with them or an injury risk to your skin. So we recommend that you don't overload your tree with ornaments so that they fall off frequently. In addition, a lot of stores are now selling ornaments that are shatter resistant or sometimes called shatterproof even though shatterproof is not something that we should always take for granted. Any ornament can shatter and can break but some of these ornaments are more resistant to breaking and that way when they fall on the floor they're a little bit more intact and don't shatter and become a risk to young children.

So products like this like tinsel and glitter and even wrapping paper when they have a lot of shiny consistency to them that means what they may contain are pigments or paints or other products that enable them to have this this shiny consistency. And what's most important to realize about these is that wrapping paper and other materials like this should never ever, ever be thrown into the fireplace. It used to be very common practice that people would take discarded wrapping paper after opening gifts and throw them into a fireplace, but because wrapping paper contains inks and pigments and metals and other products that are not designed to be burned inside your home we recommend that you always take your wrapping paper after opening gifts and simply throw it away.

If you're concerned that your child has gotten to something toxic at home please call 9-1-1 if your child is not breathing or not responding. However, if your child still is breathing and still is responding and you're still concerned about a toxic exposure, please give us a call at California poison control at 1-800-222-1222. We're open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Video Outro:

Fast, free, expert help. California Poison Control, 1-800-222-1222. Please give us a call at California Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. We're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.