For many, Easter Sunday is a time to take the little ones outside to hunt for eggs, enjoy a big feast with the family, and decorate the house with festive spring cheer. But the bright colors and fun-filled decor could be hazardous for a small child or pet, so take proper precautions to be sure you have an egg-cellent (sorry, I couldn’t resist) Easter celebration. Florida homeowners enjoy wonderful weather in the springtime, but home safety doesn't take a break. 

Easter Basket Grass

The fun strands of colorful grass that decorate your Easter baskets can be a real hazard if ingested. This grass is shiny and wiggly and can be appealing to your pets and youngsters, who could be tempted to taste it. But it’s not digestible and can wrap around the stomach, intestines, or esophagus. Ingested grass may still be partially hanging out of your little one’s mouth, and your instinct could tell you to try pull it out.  The grass may, in fact, be stuck in your child’s throat or intestines, so pulling it can cause serious internal damage: seek medical attention immediately. A safer solution to Easter grass could be paper grass or tissue paper.

Easter Chocolate

The center of attention of your child’s basket – the ever-so-delicious chocolate bunny – could cause more of a reaction than expected. Most people know that chocolate is very toxic to dogs, but it’s also important to be aware of potential allergic reactions in  young kids. Many chocolates are manufactured at companies where there may be nuts or milk present and the chocolate can contain trace elements of these ingredients, which can be enough to cause a severe allergic reaction. Signs may include wheezing, rash, hives, swelling, itchy eyes, skin or throat. Seek medical attention if you see any of these symptoms. If your child has food allergies, you can find nut-free chocolate alternatives.

Easter Eggs

According to WebMD, as soon as you hard boil an egg and let it cool, you need to refrigerate it and use it within a week. In Easter egg terms, this means that if you want to display your colorful works of egg-art in your kitchen or on your dining table, you shouldn't actually eat those eggs. Coloring Easter eggs can be fun, but if you're planning to eat the eggs you dye, an option is to use food-grade dyes.  Additionally, don’t eat eggs unless both the yolk and white are firm, not runny, to avoid salmonella bacteria.

The Egg Hunt

If you’re going to hide real eggs outside, don’t hide them where they can come in contact with animals, birds, or lawn chemicals. Do not hide eggs with cracked shells, because bacteria could contaminate the inside. To avoid bacteria, the total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed 2 hours. Consider plastic eggs filled with sweet treats instead.

Small Toys

Every child loves the tiny toy chicks and cool bouncy balls found in their plastic eggs, but they can become a choking hazard for toddlers and pets. If the object is small enough to fit in a plastic Easter egg, it’s also small enough to fit in a little one’s mouth. Keep a watchful eye out or consider an edible alternative.

Lilies

This beautiful and symbolic flower can be found in many homes during the Easter season –  but it’s also extremely toxic, and can be fatal to cats if ingested. From the leaves to the pollen, all parts of this plant can send your kitty into kidney failure. If your cat has had access to this plant and you notice any of the following symptoms: lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea, seek medical help immediately.  Easter Lilies aren’t the only lily to avoid; almost every type of lily is toxic to your furry feline friend. When ingested in large amounts, lilies can be  toxic to dogs and people too.  If you have small children and/or pets, make sure to put your Easter lilies in a place that’s out of reach or consider checking with the ASPCA for a list of non-toxic plants that you can decorate with.  

Easter is a day of joy, to spend time with your family and enjoy the holiday activities. Remembering to stay safe while celebrating can mean the difference between a festive occasion and a trip to the doctor. Keep your family healthy, happy and have a Hoppy Easter.