Child Poisoning

Things to Consider in Accident Prevention


Child poisoning is another issue to consider when thinking about child safety. What are some things that you need to know for accident prevention? What are some things that you can do in advance to prevent accidental poisoning?

Medicines:

Often, child poisoning occurs because medicines are not kept away from kids. Keep all medicines in a childproof area and in childproof containers that have push or squeeze container locks. Also, it is recommended that, when talking with kids about medicines (yours or theirs), you don't refer to pills as candy or liquids as any other potentially appealing names to the children. This only encourages children to want to "sneak" some on their own.

Plants:

You should look up to find out about any house plants. Many house plants are harmless when eaten (and some might even be good, like aloe), but many are quite dangerous, particularly if swallowed by a young child. If you decide to keep plants inside that have the potential to be harmful to children, ensure that you have them on the other side of a childproof baby gate, or in rooms with safety handles on the doors.

I know that I kept plants in the house that were listed as potentially harmful because they were given to me by my grandmother. But, they were on the side of the baby gate that only the adults were on. Even though I felt that I did a good job of watching my kids to keep them out of trouble, I can't ALWAYS watch them, and just when I'm not watching is when they likely would decide to eat some leaves!

Plants outside is another thing to think about when attempting to avoid child poisoning. While you can't always control what plants your children are exposed to outside, you'll need to watch to ensure that they do not decide to pop some berries, flowers or leaves into their mouths.

Household Cleaners:

It probably is pretty obvious that most cleaners will not be good for young kids to swallow. You'll want to make sure that cleaners and cleaning tools (like sponges and brushes) are behind childproof doors and/or stored above a child's reaching ability. Using a mixture of white vinegar and water versus bleaches, when possible, might also be something to try.

Alcohols:

Drinking alcohol should not be in reach of children. Rubbing alcohol and other first-aid gels and liquids should be behind childproof doors and/or out of reach of kids.

Pesticides:

If you have a pesticide company that sprays the inside of the house, find out how safe they are to use in a house with children the age of yours. (While many companies do use environmentally safe products now, some may not. Also, having had several children that went through the toddler stage, I know that toddlers tend to lick their fingers a lot, after crawling around the floor.)

Items for Your Car:

Car cleaners, coolants and other fluids, can be very dangerous to children. Avoid accidental poisonings by keeping this out of reach of kids.

Carbon Monoxide:

Carbon monoxide poisoning can also affect others in the house as well. Ensure that you have detectors that work, and that the batteries are changed frequently so that the detectors can serve their purpose.

Also, make sure that you always lift the garage door before starting your car and exit the garage as soon as possible after starting it to allow the carbon monoxide to escape.

If your child sleeps in a room over the garage, make sure that there is good exhaust from the garage to the outside so that carbon monoxide from the started car does not go straight up to the room over the garage.

Some General Things to Know about Poisoning:

  • Teach your children what is unsafe when they are young

  • Post the Poison Control number in the place where you post other emergency numbers, for easy access. The nationwide Poison Control number is 1-800-222-1222.

  • If you suspect your child has been poisoned by something, act fast.

  • - Call the Poison Control number.
    - Have your child's age and weight ready.
    - Have the poisoning agent handy so you can answer questions.
    - Try to be able to discuss how much your child consumed.
    - Be prepared to discuss symptoms.
    - Be ready to discuss any medical conditions your child already had.
    - Listen carefully to the poison control center's operator. Do as instructed. Prior to speaking to someone from poison control, do not attempt to make your child throw-up.

    A little advanced preparation can often help avoid child poisoning. For more information on this type of accident prevention, see the pages on poisoning on the CDC's website. For more general information, check out the site page on child safety and the page on child safety products.

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