Holiday Safety Guide

TODDLER HOLIDAY HAZARD: Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly

Accidental ingestion can make a child very sick. They’re very pretty and festive, but seasonal flora (which also includes English ivy and Jerusalem cherry plants) are potentially harmful if eaten. Because these plants are so colorful and attractive, they’re also very appealing to curious toddlers. Symptoms of plant poisoning can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rashes and fatigue.

If your child is exposed to these plants and seems inappropriately sleepy, starts to walk funny, is sick to his stomach or just isn’t acting normally, call the poison center immediately, advises Dana Hargunani, MD, director of the Doernbecher Children’s Safety Center at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. The National Poison Center is open 24/7/365: (800) 222-1222.

It’s pretty simple, really. Place plants up high where kids can’t reach them and be meticulous about picking up all dried leaves that fall on the floor. Each plant carries a different chemical that can be dangerous to both kids and pets—even when dry. If ingested, these plants can definitely ruin your holiday.