Every day, hundreds of children visit urgent care centers due to accidental poisonings. Most of these incidents involve ordinary household products. So how do you protect your children from harmful products around the house? The best place to start is knowing exactly where the dangers are. Many people are unaware of just how many products around the house are dangerous for children, and as a result, items that should be locked up or stored in childproof cabinets are left within a child’s reach.
Over-the-counter pills and medicines, along with prescription medicines, account for a high number of accidental child poisonings and visits to urgent care centers. Pills (especially colored pills) often look tantalizing to children, and even one or two pills can be toxic.
Ensure that all medicines are kept out of reach of children, and locked up if necessary. Always dispose of any unused prescriptions and unnecessary over-the-counter drugs as soon as possible. Many police stations have a kiosk inside the building where you can bring these. If you’re not sure, ask a pharmacist where to take them.
2. Household Cleaners
Unfortunately, the strong scent of cleaners can entice a child to consume these hazardous chemicals. Even a small amount is dangerous if ingested, not to mention exposure to sensitive eyes, noses and mouths. To prevent household poisonings, store all household cleaners out of reach of young children in childproof cabinets.
3. Pesticides and Insecticides
What kills insects, bugs and rodents can also cause great harm to people, and especially children. Follow all directions that come with these chemicals. Generally, if you follow the application and safety directions, your family will be well-protected. They should always be stored safely away from reach.
The statistics on the dangers of children and cigarettes are staggering. Warning labels on a cigarette box won’t stop a toddler from putting a cigarette butt in their mouth. If they’ve seen adults do it, they may be even more curious. One butt is poisonous enough to require a visit to the urgent care center. If there is a smoker in the house, insist that cigarettes and cigarette butts are never within reach of toddlers or children.
Keeping your child out of harm’s way
The reality is that household poisoning is completely preventable with proper education and precautions. The vast majority of poisonings occur because chemicals, medicines or other potentially hazardous materials were made accessible to children. It’s important to take a close look at the poisons in your home, and make sure everything is accounted for. Discussions with other parents—particularly households your own child might visit—may also prevent a poisoning. By sharing information and helping to protect each others’ children, parents can create safer environments for the little ones under their care.
*In case of poisoning, call the Poison Control Center immediately, and be sure to have safety instructions accessible in your home. If you believe the incident to be life threatening, call 911.