FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Last week the Army Flier ran an article focusing on the poison dangers of some decorations and gifts; this week will focus on toy safety, plant safety and party safety. Spend your holiday time celebrating with family and friends safely.

The following information will guide you in safe toy and plant selection and tips to keeping holiday gatherings safe for children and pets.

Toy safety

With the increased popularity of secondhand stores and on-line sales, gift givers should be careful not to buy hazardous products or toys that have been recalled. Parents can check the recall status before buying by visiting

Balloons: Children younger than 8 years old can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.

Magnets: Children younger than 6 years old can swallow magnets, resulting in serious injury or death.

Small balls and toys with small parts should not be given to children younger than 3 years old due to choking hazard.

Scooters and other riding toys: Children should be appropriate age, and wear helmets and safety gear to prevent injury.

Chargers and adapters can pose burn hazards to children.

Dangerous holiday plants

Poinsettias can cause stomach upset if eaten.

Mistletoe leaves and berries are toxic if eaten.

Holly berries can cause stomach upset if eaten.

Cedar Christmas tree bark can cause stomachache and the sap may cause skin irritation.

Pine, Spruce and Fir Christmas tree needles may cause choking, but are non- toxic.

Christmas cactus can be a choking hazard if eaten.

For more information on poisonous plants, visit the Alabama Poison Control Center Web site at or call 1-800-222-1222

Party safety

Parties can be hazardous to children and pets, so exercise caution with the following:

Alcohol: Children and pets drinking alcohol can get alcohol poisoning.

Always discard partial glasses of alcoholic drinks so children will not be tempted to drink them.

Take care when baking - extracts, such as vanilla and almond, contain high amounts of alcohol.

Tobacco: Cigarettes and cigars contain enough nicotine to be dangerous to children and pets.
Take care to safely discard used cigars and cigarettes, keep ashtrays out of reach of children. Ingestion can cause vomiting, sweating and seizures.

Chocolate is dangerous for pets to eat. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, restlessness, tremors, seizures and coma in animals.

Visitors may carry their medications and cosmetics in purses and suitcases. Children's natural curiosity can create a dangerous situation. Offer guests a locked cabinet for their medications.

Be mindful that the homes of friends and relatives may not be poison proof, particularly if children do not usually live there.

People suspecting an accidental poisoning should call the Alabama Poison Control Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. If there are respiratory problems, call 911 immediately (before calling the Poison Control Center).

A free brochure with more holiday decorating safety tips can be located at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site:

For more poison control information, visit

Visit the ASPCA Web site to learn more about Holiday pet safety: