Healthy Children - October 2015

Keep Your Child Safe from Poisoning

Poisoning is a very real danger for children, especially for those between 6 months and 5 years old.

About 90 percent of poisonings occur at home. Many poisonings occur around mealtime, when children are hungry and parents are distracted. Other times children might be more likely to try something that could harm them include changes in routine (such as during holidays), illnesses, moving, vacations, stressful times and stressful times and celebrations.

The most dangerous poisons are medicines and iron pills, but vitamins and diet pills are also risky. Sometimes all it takes is one pill to poison a small child.

You may not be able to get rid of everything in your home that can poison a child, especially with medications. But the key is to safely store and use anything that might poison a child.

Poison Prevention Do's and Dont's

Do:

  • Store all medicines and household products, such as detergents, bleaches and cleaning supplies, where children can't see or reach them.
  • Store medicines, household products and other poisons in their original containers to avoid dangerous mix-ups.
  • Treat vitamins just as you would medicines. Vitamins can be poisonous in large doses.
  • Store pesticides high and/or locked up in your garage.
  • Keep cosmetic items like nail polish remover locked up or out of reach. They can be poisonous, too.
  • Install safety locks on cabinet doors. Just remember: Locks may slow a child down, but they aren't always child-proof.
  • Keep in mind children older than 2 can be good climbers and reach upper cabinets.
  • If using a poison like a cleaning product or medicine when a child is around, take it with you if you need to answer the door or the phone.
  • Keep plants out of reach to avoid poisoning, even if you think the plant wouldn't poison a child.
  • Watch small children outside around flowering plants, lawn mushrooms or shrubbery with berries, all of which can be poisonous. 
  • Teach your children to ask an adult before eating or drinking anything. Poisons can look like food or drink.

Don't:

  • Don't take your medicine when small children are watching.
  • Don't call medicine candy.
  • Don't leave your purse out if it has medicines in it. Kids often associate mom's purse with candy and gum and may eat what they find.
  • Don't rely on packaging to keep children out of medicines and products - child-resistant packaging doesn't mean child-proof.
  • Don't keep poisonous products and food in the same cabinet.

Post the local Poison Control Center phone number near your phone. If you think your child has been poisoned, call the Poison Control Center immediately at 800.222.1222.

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