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Dyes, Food, Toys: Poisoning Potentials during Easter Weekend

Image of the word Easter

FOR RELEASE: April 1, 2021

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Easter is celebrated in different ways, but for many it is a time with family, creating special moments and gift giving. However, new gifts and meal prep could bring hidden dangers into your home. Take time to review items that might cause potential poisonings over Easter weekend!


Easter egg dyingMost egg dyes are non-toxic and safe to use with children when following directions. Generally, if a child should take a sip, only mild stomach upset could occur. Call us, though, for help if you child swallows any dye. Adult supervision is always recommended to be sure children follow the rules.

Be sure the dye is non-toxic or food safe. Dyes used for painting Ukrainian eggs, “pysanka,” can often be inexpensive chemical, aniline dyes that are used for batik and in the coloring of wool and silk. They are not edible dyes, so do not use them on your regular Easter eggs.


Many children’s toys contain small batteries known as button batteries. If this coin-like battery is ingested, act quickly by calling our poison center specialists at 1-800-222-1222. Do not induce vomiting! If swallowed and not removed promptly, larger button batteries can burn a hole through a child's esophagus or even cause death. Button batteries can also cause permanent injury if put in the nose or the ears and must be removed. If this is the case do NOT use ear or nose drops.


  • Store ALL batteries out of sight and reach of children
  • Check to be sure the battery compartment is shut tightly using tape if necessary
  • Only buy items that require a tool to open the battery compartment, which reduces the risk that your child will ingest a battery
  • Be aware of symptoms like fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, or blood in the stools as you may not be aware of the ingestion


Family eating Easter mealWhen serving food to a large group or to your family, be sure you know the rules for food safety. All hot foods and cold foods should be rotated every two hours to prevent spoiling. Simply stated, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Set a timer if it helps you to remember.

Food poisoning symptoms, which can start within hours of eating contaminated food, often include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Most often, food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment. If severe, some people need to go to the hospital. Call us and we can help guide you 1-800-222-1222.


Lilies: All parts of the lily are considered poisonous to humans. Coming in contact with some parts of a lily can be an irritant. Sap may cause burning on the skin or blistering on the mouth and esophagus if the leaves are chewed and swallowed. Plants, including Easter, Tiger, Stargazer, Japanese Show Lily, and some day lilies, can cause renal failure in cats. Even a small amount from any part of the plant can cause a severe reaction. Lilies are less toxic to dogs.

Daffodils: All parts of the daffodil are toxic - flowers, stems, leaves and bulb. The above-ground parts of the daffodil contain lycorine and calcium oxalate crystals. These can be toxic to you and your pets. When swallowed, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Eating the bulb can cause severe irritation of the mouth and make your stomach upset.

Kalanchoe: This plant is toxic to both humans and pets, due to its cardiac effect. The degree of toxicity depends on the weight of the patient and the amount ingested. According to the ASPCA, symptoms of kalanchoe poisoning in dogs may appear within a few hours of ingestion with excessive drooling or stomach upset with diarrhea and abdominal pain. If the dog eats a significant amount of kalanchoe, cardiac symptoms such as arrhythmia may appear. If you know your dog has eaten kalanchoe, take the animal to a veterinarian as soon as possible, or at least call for advice.

Bonsai: Bonsai are artificially cut mini trees made from other species. Poisonous bonsai include ones created from Japanese yew, Apricot, Australian Ivy Palm, and Buddhist Pine. If a child should ingest or chew on a leaf, symptoms could involve confusion, dilated pupils or confusion. For cats and dogs, the most toxic of the bonsai trees is the sago palm tree. All parts are poisonous, but seeds are the most toxic. Within a short time, a cat can show symptoms such as drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. Within a couple of days, more severe symptoms appear.

Azaleas: The toxin is contained in the leaves, petals and even in the pollen of this poisonous plant. A very small amount ingested can be poisonous to dogs and cats and can produce serious gastrointestinal issues, weakness, disorientation, and weak heart rate. Although toxic, this species presents a lower risk to humans if ingested in small amounts.

For help with a pet poisoning,  call the Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-764-7661 or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center 1-888-426-4435 (fees apply).

* If giving a gift or buying a plant for your home, choose a non-toxic plant such as African Violets, Boston Fern, Baby Rubber Tree, Wax Plant, Spider Plant, Moth Orchid or Gerbera Daisy.

In the case of a poisoning or for information purposes, call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Each year our center manages more than 50,000 calls from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in our 54-county service area.

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About Upstate New York Poison Center

Housed inside Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, the Upstate New York Poison Center is dedicated to reducing the number, cost and severity of poisonings within its designated 54-county service area as mandated by New York State Law. The Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to both health professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.

About Upstate Medical University

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, is the only academic medical center in Central New York. It is also the region's largest employer with 9,460 employees. Affiliated with the State University of New York, Upstate's mission is to improve the health of the community through education, biomedical research and health care.