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Julie Says

Dec 01, 2015 11:37AM ● Published by Julie Ross

By Julie Ross

I was reading an article this morning about holiday safety tips that included the usual mundane stuff. As expected, thousands of people fall off ladders and break bones hanging decorations. There are plenty of fires started by candles, faulty Christmas lights, and overloaded electrical outlets. Every Christmas season, a couple thousand people nationwide suffer lacerations and sprains from tripping over extension cords, and thousands more sustain back, neck, and shoulder injuries from hauling over-stuffed luggage on their holiday travels. Safety experts warn us of these things every year, but it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and sustain all kinds of avoidable accidents.

What else do we need to look out for this holiday season? I will share with you what I found:

*Be careful with that button-down. Two hundred people are admitted to the hospital annually after not removing all the pins from a new shirt.

*New battery operated toys? Over the past decade, 27 people have died testing a 9V battery with their tongue. (For most people, only a slight jolt and metallic taste occur with a live battery when the terminals are placed on the tongue. For people with a heart condition, especially those with a pacemaker, it evidently can be fatal.)

*Every year, three or four people break their arms pulling holiday crackers.

*Hundreds cut themselves with knives and scissors used for opening presents.

*Don’t nibble on the mistletoe, especially the berries; they are toxic, particularly those of the Phoradendron and Viscum varieties. Ditto with holly berries. Eat a couple and it’s no big deal; eat 20 and you are a goner. Poinsettias get a bad rap about being poisonous, but even if you eat several leaves, the most you are likely to get is a stomachache. The sap can cause a (nonfatal) rash on your skin. 

Best advice with all three of these holiday plants: Look, but don’t touch, and certainly don’t consume. And obviously, keep out of the reach of children and pets. Finally, beware of Black Friday door buster shopping stampedes. Dozens get trampled every year.

So, be careful on those ladders, watch for fire and tripping hazards, and honestly, slow down with the knives in your giftwrap slashing frenzy. Check your new clothes for pins, and don’t eat poisonous berries. Pack light if you are traveling. Stay home on Black Friday. Skip the dangerous bone-snapping holiday crackers. And finally, one last reminder -- I need to ask you to please, please not attempt to conduct a current through your tongue with a 9V battery. 

Have a safe and joyful holiday season.

You can reach Julie at







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