Promoting Poison Prevention Safety As Part Of A Child Safe Environment

Statistics reveal that of a total two million poison control calls, nearly 50 percent involved children ages six and younger.

One source of risk is button batteries. There have been several reports of young children swallowing the small circle batteries. Often, they cause death to the child. For this reason, parents and caregivers should secure the battery compartments of toys and other household electronics using a screwdriver.

Other items that can be dangerous for children, if swallowed, are cosmetics and personal care products such as hand sanitizers, mouthwash, perfume, and even vanilla extract. These products are all alcohol-based. Consumer Reports Product Safety Expert, Don Huber, explains that many of these products contain ethanol, the same type of alcohol you find in alcoholic beverages. He went on to say that a small amount of the alcohol when ingested by a young child around 25 pounds or less will make him/her "extremely intoxicated." Additionally, personal care products and cleaners should always be kept in their original bottles. Other containers, like a travel-size bottle may not have child-resistant caps or a safety nozzle.

Make sure children cannot access any cleaning product or laundry detergent. Chelsey Hernandez "Keep your children safe with these household danger warnings" abc13.com (Aug. 02, 2018)


Commentary and Checklist

According to the National Capital Poison Center, in 2016 (the most recent available data), the 55 poison control centers in the U.S. “provided telephone guidance for almost 2.159 million human poison exposures.”

Signs and symptoms that a child has been poisoned vary, according to the poison. These include abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting; bluish lips, chest pain or heart palpitations; confusion, stupor, or unconsciousness; cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath; diarrhea or loss of bladder control; dizziness or drowsiness; double vision, fever, headache, irritability, loss of appetite, muscle twitching, numbness, tingling, or weakness; seizures, skin rash or burns; and, unusual breath odor.

In many cases, parents and caregivers are with the children when an accidental poisoning occurs. Protecting children requires taking safety measures and remaining vigilant.

What can safe adults do to help prevent accidental poisoning?

  • Keep medicines and toxic products, such cleaning solutions, in the original packaging and locked in a storage compartment where children cannot see or get to them. Single-load laundry detergent packets, for example, are attractive to small children, but can be deadly.
  • Although it may be convenient to have a bottle of cleaner in all the bathrooms under the sink, the more places you keep chemicals, the more likely they are to be left in an area where children have access to them.
  • As many as 20 percent of child medication poisonings occur through exposure to an adult's medication, so work with grandparents and any caregivers to childproof the home or work environment. Watch for medication that may be brought into your home in handbags. Never refer to medication as "candy" or "food."
  • Never store food and cleaning supplies or other chemicals together. A leak could poison the food.
  • Don't store chemicals in recycled juice bottles or milk jugs.
  • Never mix household cleaning products. The fumes can become deadly when mixing otherwise harmless chemicals.
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