As a parent I always try to store any household products that may harm my children in a safe and secure place. But I am also imperfect, and can make a mistake which could result in one of my children getting a hold of something that may harm them. For this reason I put together a list of reminders that is beneficial for all parents, cause we do forget sometimes.
We need to keep in mind that most poisonings occur when parents or caregivers are home but not paying attention. The most dangerous potential poisons are medicines, cleaning products, liquid nicotine, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil. Be especially vigilant when there is a change in routine. Holidays, visits to and from grandparents’ homes, and other special events may bring greater risk of poisoning if the usual safeguards are defeated or not in place. Here are a few simple safeguards that everyone should consider:
- Store medicine, cleaning and laundry products (including detergent packets), paints/varnishes and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children.
- Safety latches that automatically lock when you close a cabinet door can help keep children away from dangerous products, but there is always a chance the device will malfunction. The safest place to store poisonous products is somewhere a child can’t reach.
- Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps and keep out of reach of children. Discard unused medication. Note that safety caps are designed to be child resistant but are not fully child proof.
- Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.
- Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage. For liquid medicines, use the dosing device that came with the medicine.
- If you use an e-cigarette, keep the liquid nicotine refills locked up out of children’s reach and only buy refills that use child resistant packaging. Ingestion or skin exposure with just a small amount of the liquid can be fatal to a child.
- Never place poisonous products in food or drink containers.
- Keep coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order.
- Maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Secure remote controls, key fobs, greeting cards, and musical children’s books. These and other devices may contain small button-cell batteries that can cause injury if ingested.
If it does happen and your child does come in contact with something poisonous, we need to keep in mind that treatment is different depending on what the child got into. If your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizures due to poison contact or ingestion, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If your child has come in contact with poison and has mild or no symptoms, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222. This number works throughout the U.S.
Poison Prevention Month is the 3rd week in March–but it’s never too early to start preparing… before it’s too late.