Iowa parents with small children who have relatives or friends staying overnight during the holidays may need a heads-up from the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center. Registered nurse Joan McVoy says those visitors may be carrying prescription drugs that could pose a risk to curious kids.
“Make sure when you have visitors coming into your home that you have a discussion about where they’ll keep their prescription medication,” McVoy says. “They want to make sure they’re not on the night stand or on top of the bathroom counter and they’re not in somebody’s suitcase. It’s really important because medications are over 50% of the calls we get at the poison center.”
Over the next two weeks, some Iowans will host holiday parties that will run into the wee hours. McVoy says if the party hosts have kids, they should make sure to do a little cleaning before heading to bed. “The holiday drinks with alcohol in them sit there and kids come down earlier than the parents do,” McVoy says. “In the morning, that’s a real common call that we get where kids are eating cigarette butts or they’ve gotten into the drinks. Just remember, just a small amount of alcohol can really be a problem with a small child.”
New electronics may be coming into Iowans’ houses during the holidays and many gadgets contain tiny batteries which might be snatched and swallowed by a child or a pet. McVoy says that small battery could lead to big problems. “It can sit there and cause a really bad burn or even a perforation or a hole through anything it sits up against,” McVoy says. “Also, it has a flat surface area and when it gets wet, it can discharge an electrical current and that also can cause some damage anywhere in the body when it just sits there.”
Those batteries can be in all sorts of items, including: toys, games, watches, remote controls and musical greeting cards. The experts at the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center are available around the clock at 800-222-1222.