Every parent of multiples would agree that it is impossible to keep an eye on all of your children all of the time. In the short amount of time it takes you to change a diaper, do you know what your other children are getting into? Our little ones are curious about the world around them, and who can blame them with so many things to learn! But this curiosity can also be very dangerous if they get into a poisonous substance. Children between the ages of eight month and six years are at the greatest risk of unintentional poisoning. About 90% of poisonings happen right in the home. As parents it is important to recognize what in our home pose a risk to our children and what steps we can take to prevent our precious little ones from accidentally getting poisoned.
• Household Cleaning products – These can look and smell tempting to eat with their bright colors and floral scents. And some of them come in easy to dispense spray bottles that can quickly turn into a “water gun battle” resulting in chemicals getting in their eyes. Many people keep these items under their kitchen sink- DON’T! Instead keep these in a cabinet or closet on the top shelf or locked up. It needs to be a lock that your little ones can in no way break though. Maybe consider keeping them out in the garage. Always make sure the garage is locked as well since there is an array of poisons from paint, oil, windshield washer fluid, pesticides and more that could harm your children.
• Medications or vitamin supplements - These can look like candy to kids. Never tell children the medicine you want them to take is “candy.” Never leave medicines or vitamins on the counter or next to your bed. Make sure to always replace the lid immediately and make sure it’s on tight. Child resistant caps does not mean child-proof.
• Topical preparations – These include diaper rash products, acne cream, or calamine lotion. On top of being a big mess if gotten into, these can be dangerous if ingested. Make sure you don’t leave diaper rash cream in your children’s room.
• Cosmetics - These are items you may leave on the bathroom sink without giving it a second thought. But cosmetics such as perfume and nail polish, and personal care products such as deodorant, lotions and mouthwash should be stored away from little ones reach.
• Silica gel packages - These remove moisture in packaging. Make sure you always search for these in new toys and items you buy for your children before you give it to them.
• Household plants - Some of these can be toxic to children as well. Research the plants you keep in your home to learn if they are poisonous. Teach children that house plants are not food.
• Purse- Dangers lurk in here are well; coins, lotions, makeup, medicine bottles. What is in your purse? Hang your purse up on the coat rack to keep out of reach from children and teach them that only mommy gets things out of her purse.
Aside from keeping dangerous items out of reach from your children, make sure you teach them not to touch or eat things if they don’t know what they are. Teach them that only adults are allowed to touch or use certain household items. Also make sure they understand that only an adult can give them medicine because if you take the wrong kind of medicine or too much, it can hurt them. There is a short educational video by the New York Poison Control Center called “Stop! Ask First!” that teaches children a little jingle that will help them remember not to touch things without asking. Why not watch it with your children today?!
If you think your child has been exposed to a poison you should call the American Association of Poison Control Hotline right away! Your call will be answered by medical professional that will help you know what to do for your child, weather it is to take them to the ER or be treated at home. The call is free and confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Translators are available in 150 languages.
You can call this number to ask questions and get educated on how you can prevent accidental poisonings. Ask them to send you telephone stickers or magnets with the emergency phone number to post in your home near your telephones. Make sure baby sitters and caregivers know where this number is if an incident happens while they are watching your children. Save this number to your cell phone as well so it is always ready wherever you are. Visit the Poison Control website for more information to learn what you can do to keep your home a safe place.
A few things to make your home safer:
“You can prevent poisonings at home” Poster for families to print.
Print and take brochure to educate your children and make your home safe