Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Keeping Children and Pets Safe From Harmful Plants Over the Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching and with the holidays come a variety of items that are not found in the house during the rest of the year. These items might catch the attention of both your pet and your child, so take extra precautions.

One of these items that are something new to be experienced is the Christmas tree and since it is something new, different and no doubt very interesting when seen through the eyes of your baby and pets. We got a cat during the summer time, and you can be sure that once the Christmas tree is up, the cat will be checking it out because of the new and different smells that are involved with it! There are some things that are needed to be done to protect these precious creatures from the possible harm that Christmas trees and other plants of the season can cause. One thing that we did with our Christmas tree when our girls were little and plan to do this year with kitty is to festoon the Christmas tree with bells towards the bottom. This way, if we are out of the room and the child or pet pulls at the tree or begin to play with it, the bells will ring warning us that we need to check out what is going on. Another idea is to keep the tree in a separate room altogether that has doors on it. This will definitely ensure that the child will not get injured by the Christmas tree falling on them and injuring them or having ornaments break and hurt little fingers or toes or paws.

Fresh Christmas trees are a special addition to Christmas, but like all plants, they need to be watered constantly. Cover the base of your tree with a large skirt in order to keep your children and pets away from the water bowl as the water may contain harmful chemicals. If your child or pet is likely to pull of ornaments, you might want to consider what you put on your tree. (Sweets are a no no, because the smell will tempt both pet and child!) And because small ornaments can get lodged in the throats of both pets and babies, you might want to stay away from small, sharp, glass ornaments. (Also be cautious of the ornament hangers themselves as well!)

In regards to Christmas lights, somewhere, more likely than not is the electrical cord that comes with them. Some babies and pets may be tempted to chew on these cords, so make sure they are well hidden and not accessible. Another thing you might want to consider is not putting any gifts under the tree until the time you are prepared to open them. For small kids, you can put some stuffed animals under there or we have a child friendly (it is big for little hands) nativity set that my daughters constantly played with when they were young.

Another plant besides the Christmas trees that you need to consider in regards to your baby and your pet is the Poinsettia plant. This bright, cheerful plant is a welcome addition to any house hold and just says CHRISTMAS by looking at it, but it can be harmful if large quantities are digested, as this could prove cramping and diarrhea. However, if you do find your pet munching on poinsettias, it might prove quite harmful for them, more so than a child.

Another plant that brings in the holiday cheer is mistletoe. Everyone wants to sneak a kiss under the mistletoe! This particular plant, even more so than the poinsettia, is a danger to anyone if digested. Besides some nasty cramps and diarrhea, this plant could even prove to be fatal. So if you are planning to hang the real stuff, make sure it is hung securely and high up so that little hands cannot get a hold of it

Every parent should have the telephone number of their local Poison Control Centre and the local hospital somewhere close to the phone where it can be grabbed quick in case of an emergency and if you do have real plants and a real (or even a fake one for that matter) Christmas tree, use extra caution with the plants and how you decorate your tree and your holidays this year will be happy and memorable ones!

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