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How can I protect my child from accidental poisoning?

 
 


 

EMERGENCY INFORMATION:

If your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having a seizure, call 911 immediately.

Otherwise, at the first sign that your child has been poisoned, call the American Association of Poison Control Centers' national emergency hotline at (800) 222-1222, which will automatically redirect you to your local poison control center. Local lines are staffed 24 hours a day by registered pharmacists, nurses, and doctors with special training in answering poisoning crisis calls and routine questions about household poisons.

Protect your child from accidental poisoning

Children, especially very young ones, explore the world by putting things in their mouths. That's one reason more than 1 million children under the age of 6 are victims of accidental poisonings each year. You can keep your family safe by identifying and locking up toxic materials and knowing what to do if your child touches, inhales, or swallows a poison.



How can I tell which substances are poisonous?

Not all hazardous substances are obvious. For example, never leave baby oil or any other such products within your baby's reach - in a few cases infants have died from getting baby oil in their lungs.

Conduct a room-by-room inventory of non-food substances, and make sure poisons are clearly labeled and locked out of reach of children. If you don't know if a product is poisonous, check the label or call the American Association of Poison Control Centers' hotline at (800) 222-1222.

These are some of the hazardous substances most commonly ingested by children under age six:

  • Cosmetics and personal care products

  • Household plants, especially philodendron

  • Cough and cold medicines

  • Vitamin supplements, especially iron pills

  • Cleaning products including dishwashing detergent, drain
    cleaner, oven cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, and rust remover


  • Analgesics pain killers such as acetaminophen or aspirin
    taken at an inappropriate dosage


  • Prescription drugs, especially antidepressants
    and time-release drugs


  • Paint thinner, paint remover, kerosene, and lighter fluids

  • Pesticides

How can I make sure that my child does not get hold of
any harmful substances?

 

Start poison-proofing your house before your baby is born. You'd be surprised how fast your child could learn to climb cupboards or open child-resistant caps.

Lock up all medicines and harmful substances. Secure all cupboards that contain poisons, even those that seem out of reach. Poison experts have seen plenty of young children who dragged a chair over to a kitchen counter, climbed onto the counter or even the refrigerator, and opened a cupboard near the ceiling. Your child may be able to do something like this before you know it.

Don't trust child-resistant containers. They aren't childproof. No bottle top can be made so secure that a child can't find some way to get it off. It's not unusual for a 2-year-old, left alone for 30 minutes, to break down the best devices of the manufacturer.

Keep medicines, pesticides, even detergents in their original containers. Never put poisonous or toxic products in containers that were once used for food. Poison centers have heard all too many horror stories of a toxic liquid in an unmarked container being mistaken for apple juice.

Never refer to any kind of medicine as candy. Even if you're trying to get a reluctant child to take cough syrup, don't treat it as something good to eat. Children learn by imitation, so take your own medicine when they aren't watching.

Read the labels on all household products before buying them, and try to use the least toxic ones. Among the household products generally considered less hazardous are non-chlorine bleaches, vinegar, borax, beeswax, mineral oil, and compressed air drain openers rather than corrosive liquids.

What should I do if I think my child has swallowed something dangerous?

 

Know who to call in case of a poisoning and post the number near your phone. Do it now, before an emergency occurs.

If your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having a seizure, call 911 immediately.

Otherwise, at the first sign that your child has been poisoned, call the American Association of Poison Control Centers' national emergency hotline at (800) 222-1222, which will automatically redirect you to your local poison control center. Local lines are staffed 24 hours a day by registered pharmacists, nurses, and doctors with special training in answering poisoning crisis calls and routine questions about household poisons.





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