With Kids, Pets Around, Benign Objects Can Become DangerousBy Cindy Hsu

NEWARK, N.J. (CBS 2) — For many people the holidays mean a house full of family and friends. But there are hidden dangers in many homes that can ruin the celebration.

CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reports on what you can do right now to protect those you love.

“A medicine cabinet is an open invitation for somebody who is visiting that might be going through your medicine,” said Dr. Steven Marcus.

Marcus says clear your medicine cabinet, bedside stand and pocket books of all medication — over the counter and prescription — and lock them up.”There are more deaths from unintentional drug overdoses than fires nationally,” said Dr. Marcus of the Poison Information & Education System.

Holiday cleaning can cause problems if you leave out certain products. For example, a gas grate cleaner was mistaken for sugar and landed a New Jersey man in intensive care after it was put in his coffee. In addition, some oven cleaners contain lye and can cause problems when inhaled.

Elvis Perez is a poison specialist and has been answering frantic hotline calls for more than 20 years.

He says during the holidays glass ornaments ingested by children and pets is a huge problem.

Safety experts say here’s a good test if you have young children or pets around: if the ornament is small enough to slide through a toilet paper roll, don’t put it on the tree.

If you’re having a party, make sure you don’t leave chocolate or alcohol out when it comes to children and pets.

And finally, with all the holiday wrapping paper make sure you don’t burn it in the fireplace. It often contains heavy amounts of lead.

“If you burn it in a fireplace some of the smoke may come into the room and you’ll all be exposed to the heavy metal,” Dr. Marcus said.

Marcus and his 24-hour staff say it’s also key to have their hotline number handy, so when an emergency hits you can call immediately for help. There is one universal poison emergency hotline number for the whole country — 1-800-222-1222.

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