Iowa Poison Control Center
24 Hours / 7 Days a Week 1.800.222.1222

Winter Holidays

Gift-Wrap

Most wrapping paper and ribbons are non-toxic, but foil and colored gift-wrap may contain lead. DO NOT let babies chew on any of these products.

Christmas tree ornaments

Ornaments can be made of glass, thin metal, styrofoam or wood. If a child swallows a piece of an ornament, it could cause choking and/or blockage in the intestines. Antique or foreign-made ornaments may be decorated with lead-based paint, however lead toxicity is unlikely from a small, one-time occurrence.

Bubble Lights

Bubble lights contain a small amount of methylene chloride, which is also found in paint removers. Nibbling on an intact light or one "opened" light may cause mild skin or mouth irritation only.

Christmas tree preservatives

Commercial Christmas tree preservatives usually contain a concentrated sugar solution and are considered non-toxic. Homemade solutions containing aspirin or bleach can be potentially harmful if a large amount is swallowed.

Icicles or tinsel

These may cause choking or obstruction, especially in cats or small dogs. Since they may contain lead and tin, they may be toxic with repeated ingestion.

Disc Batteries

These flat-shaped, coin-like batteries are commonly used in watches, cameras, hearing aids, games and calculators. They may, if swallowed, lodge in the esophagus between the throat and stomach, and cause tissue damage or obstruction. Initially, there may be no symptoms and it is recommended that an x-ray be performed to confirm location of the battery. If the battery is in the esophagus, removal is necessary. Also, children may insert these small objects into their ears or nose.

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