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Poison center highlights a few holiday dangers

December 17, 2018 GMT

The West Virginia Poison Center

’Tis the season for twinkling lights and brightly wrapped gifts, but have you ever thought that some of these holiday items may be a danger to your family?

The West Virginia Poison Center reminds West Virginians it is important to be mindful of dangers, especially during the holiday season when there are changes in schedules and guests in the home. Changes from normalcy could lead to poisonings.

The West Virginia Poison Center highlights a few potential concerns below.

Vintage decorations or toys: Vintage decorations and toys are making a comeback. Many vintage items can be found at yard sales or online. While these items are eye catching on display, some vintage decorations and toys contain lead. These items should be kept up and away from children who may try sticking them in their mouth. The liquid inside vintage bubble lights can be harmful if the delicate light is broken. Angel hair, used for decoration embellishment, is dangerous for children and pets if consumed.


Toys with small magnets: In recent years toys with small, strong magnets have become popular, such as magnetic building sets, magnetic tiles, and magnetic sculpture toys. These products can cause serious injuries if swallowed by a person or pet. If young children, pets, or people who may swallow small magnets are in the home, do not purchase toys with small, strong magnets that are loose or may come loose.

Items with button batteries that are not secured: Disc batteries, also called button or coin batteries, can be very dangerous if swallowed. Ensure children’s toys have a secured compartment for batteries (such as a compartment that requires a screw driver to open). Items that contain button or coin batteries that are not secured, such as items intended for adults, should be kept away from children. Other items of concern include: light-up plastic jewelry that may not have a secure compartment for batteries and may include extra batteries attached to the packaging and light-up holiday crafts that include a simple electrical circuit where a battery is only attached with tape. The button batteries on these items can be easily removed and swallowed by children or pets.

Toys that absorb water: Also becoming popular in the last several years are toys that absorb water and expand, such as water absorbing balls or beads. Most of these items are colorful and may look like candy. These items become dangerous if a child or pet ingest them as they can expand in the digestive tract.

If an ingestion of any of these products occurs, immediately call the West Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Do not wait for symptoms to appear.

For more information, the media may contact Carissa McBurney, Community Outreach Coordinator, at 304-347-1379, 304-552-6338 (cell phone) or cmcburney@hsc.wvu.edu.