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Kids & Poison: How to Help Prevent Childhood Poisoning

Kids & Poison: How to Help Prevent Accidental Injury or Death from Hazardous Substances

  • All medications and household products that are potentially poisonous should be locked out of the reach and sight of all children.

  • Labels must be read to discover whether poisonous ingredients are in a particular product. Potential hazards include liquor and wine, beer, art supplies, pesticides, cleaning products, plants and plant food, medicine and cosmetics.

  • When using household products that are potentially hazardous, make sure not to leave such products unattended.

  • Handbags should be kept out of the reach of children, and people must be aware that medications, cosmetics and other items often found in a purse or tote bag may be poisonous.

  • Household cleaning products should never be mixed.

  • Child resistant packages should be your first choice.

  • Products should always be kept in their original packages to avoid confusion.

  • It is also wise to keep local emergency numbers, as well as the toll-free poison control hotline number (1-800-222-1222) near telephones. Immediately call 911 if you suspect poisoning, or a youngster is having a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, collapses or is choking. Otherwise, call the poison control hotline immediately with the suspected product in hand.

  • Always closely follow the instructions of the poison control center operator.

  • Never attempt to medicate a child or try to induce vomiting unless directed to do so by a qualified individual.

  • Ipecac syrup is no longer considered a proper home treatment and should not be used. However, activated charcoal should be kept on hand, but used only after speaking to a doctor or poison control center representative.

  • Carefully read the manufacturer's instructions for any medications given to children, which are usually based on their ages and weight. Children's medications should be administered with the dispensers that accompany the product.

  • Never call vitamins or medicine "candy."

  • Safely dispose of expired medication where it cannot be reached by children.

  • Inform friends and relatives about how to avoid medication poisoning.

  • Take appropriate precautions to avoid children's coming in contact with other poisons that may be present in the area.

  • Test all youngsters for lead exposure. Additionally, dwellings built prior to 1978 should be tested for lead based paint. If such paint is discovered, it should be covered with a sealant and a professional abatement company should be hired to remove it from the home. Wash the faces and hands of children frequently, as well as the surfaces of their pacifiers and toys, as this lowers the risk of consuming dust that is contaminated with lead.

  • CO detectors should be installed on all levels of your home and in every sleeping area. Batteries should be checked on a monthly basis. If the alarm goes off, the home should be evacuated immediately and you should call for help from an outside phone.

  • Make sure fireplaces, furnaces, space heaters and wood-burning stoves are properly vented and inspected on a yearly basis.

  • When warming up a vehicle, remove it from the garage first, even if the door is open.

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