Have you ever considered how everyday items can look like treats to children? Just think about how blue glass cleaner looks about the same color as a fruity kids drink. Candies and mints often look just like medicine capsules or tablets. Colorful laundry detergent pods have been mistaken for candy, causing illness and even death in children.
One poison exposure is reported to U.S. poison control centers every 15 seconds and nearly half of these exposures are in children under the age of six according to the National Capital Poison Center.
Make sure that if you have children, you keep toxic items out of their reach. Childproof packaging can be helpful but nothing is as safe as keeping toxic items out of reach. To do this, keep cleaning supplies and medicine up high and out of reach. If your children are older, you can explain the concept of Mr. Yuk and mark toxic items with Mr. Yuk stickers, which you can often get for free.
Make sure that you are familiar with your local poison control center. Have the national phone number for Poison Control, 800-222-1222, prominently displayed in your home and make sure any babysitters know where it is and what to do in the case of an emergency. This number will automatically connect you with the closest regional poison control center.
You may not always know immediately if your child has been unintentionally poisoned. Some signs of poisoning, according to the Mayo clinic, include:
- Burns or redness around the mouth and lips
- Breath that smells like chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner
- Difficulty breathing
- Confusion or other altered mental status
Prescription and over the counter drugs for children and adults should be handled with care. Make sure you always read and follow the dosage information before giving any medication to children. Also measure precisely. Unintentional poisoning can also happen through misdosing, which is actually more common than you might think.
For some resources on teaching your children about medicine safety, visit Katy’s Kids. http://www.katyskids.com/kidscorner.aspx