Fast Help 1-800-222-1222

Holidays can be exciting yet hectic.  Festive items or products can be potentially dangerous for young children including:

  • seasonal plants and evergreens
  • heirloom ornaments
  • alcoholic beverages 

These safety tips can help keep the holidays safe and joyful.

Food Preparations:

  • Thaw turkey and other meats in the refrigerator in the original wrapper for 3 or 4 days.  If faster thawing is needed, immerse in cold water and change the water every 60 minutes.
  • DO NOT use turkeys that have been defrosted and refrozen.
  • Salmonella bacteria are often present in turkey, even when frozen.  Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after working with raw meats to reduce the chances of spreading the bacteria to uncooked foods.
  • Cook foods thoroughly to a temperature above 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove any stuffing from the turkey before refrigerating leftover meat.
  • Gravy and broth should be stored separately.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Do not leave foods out after eating.  Promptly cover and refrigerate them.  There are bacteria that grow well in cooked foods left sitting out at room temperature.

The Butterball Turkey Hotline number is available November and December for general preparation and cooking tips at: 1-800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-837-2255).  You can also visit their website

Plants and Decorations:

  • Contrary to folklore, poinsettias are not considered a dangerous plant.
  • Nandina berries are also non-toxic.  However, these berries and plants can be poisonous to humans and animals: 
  • Christmas tree preservatives are usually not toxic. Check the label for special ingredients and warnings.
  • The use of old ornaments creates risks for cuts from broken glass, and they may be decorated with harmful lead paints.
  • Lead can be found in some tree light wires. Wash hands before and after handling tree lights.
  • Spray-on snow, once dried, is non-toxic.
  • Icicles or tinsel can be a choking hazard if swallowed.
  • Angel hair is finely spun glass which can cause cuts or irritation when handled or swallowed.


Planning for Guests:

  • When relatives and friends come to visit, be sure their medications are put away.
  • Designate a locked room where relatives and guests can place their coats and purses that may contain medications.
  • Remove partially filled glasses of alcoholic beverages left around.  Alcohol can cause serious illness to small children.
  • Empty ash trays often, and when the party is over, clean them.  Eating a few cigarette butts can send a child to the hospital.
  • Make sure small button batteries are not available to children. One swallowed battery can injure a child.  Button batteries can be found in these places:
      • toys
      • remotes
      • small electronic devices
      • musical greeting cards

Additional safety tips:

  • Remove and throw away silica gel packets from shoeboxes or presents. Silica gels are a choking hazard for children.
  • Keep nutmeg and oil of wintergreen up and away from small children.
    • Nutmeg in larger quantities or even 1 seed of nutmeg can cause severe gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
    • Oil of wintergreen can be especially dangerous even in small doses as it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion.


Call NC Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat from this sitefor questions about holiday safety tips.

Last Updated on 12/13/2023