Part of having children is realizing they’ll put anything and everything in their mouths. Did you know 90 percent of poisonings happen in the home? It’s a scary statistic, you can do plenty of things at home to prevent poisonings in children.
Children are naturally adventurous and learn about their world by exploring it, so here are four poison safety tips you can use to keep all your little adventurers safe.
Keep Toxic Products Out of Reach
We’ve all got toxic products in our homes, even if we don’t realize it, and many of those products look appetizing to little minds — or big ones if you look at the Tide Pod Challenge! Dish soap, bathroom cleaners, and laundry detergent can all be toxic. When it comes to the prevention of poisoning in a child, you need to get all those products up and out of reach. Store them in high cabinets, on top of your fridge or in an area your child cannot reach.
If you must keep your cleaning products under your sink due to a lack of storage space, invest in some good child safety locks. Don’t go with the cheap ones you can pick up at your local Wal-Mart — get some good ones. They might be a hassle for you, but they’ll keep your little one safe.
Keep your products in their original package, too. Not only does it allow you to learn what they may have gotten into instantly, but the packaging may contain valuable information Poison Control needs to help you make the right decision if your child does consume one of these products.
When you have your poisonous products out, don’t leave them unattended. It takes no time at all for a little one to get into trouble. Just checking your phone or answering the door could give them time to taste a toxic cleaning product.
Carefully read all the labels on every product that you bring into your home. If it says “Keep out of reach of children” on the label, you should do exactly that.
Cleaning products aren’t the only thing that you need to worry about, either — keep all your medications out of reach, too. You should also keep all your medicines in their original containers and request child-proof bottles from your pharmacy. If you put your medication in your bag to take with you to work, keep your bag in a place where your children can’t reach it.
Know How to React
Memorize this number: 1-800-222-1222. It’s the number for the Poison Control Center — they will be able to advise you if your child gets into something potentially toxic. They may say you don’t have anything to worry about, but it’s always better to call if you’re concerned. If you think your child has eaten something toxic, call — don’t wait.
Don’t give your child anything else to eat or drink until after you’ve spoken with poison control. Additionally, while it might seem like a good idea to induce vomiting to get the poison out of their system, wait until poison control has advised you to do so. Vomiting could make some cases of poisoning worse.
Finally, stay calm. If you freak out, your child will freak out, too, which will make it harder for you to help them. Not all contact with poison will result in poisoning, but calling poison control will set your mind at ease and guide you if you need to take your child to the hospital.
Be Aware of Other Risks
One risk many parents overlook is lead, which can be a big problem if you live in an older house built before lead paint was banned in 1978. If you live in an older home, be careful of old or peeling paint — a child could put it in their mouth, and chewing it allows the lead in the paint to leach into the body.
Don’t just paint over it a spot, either. If you suspect that you have lead paint in your home, pick up a testing kit from your local hardware store. If the test comes up positive, don’t try to remove the paint yourself — paint dust can cause the same problems as if you peeled off a piece of paint and chewed it. Instead, talk to an inspector or an EPA certified risk assessor. They’ll be able to tell you whether you should hire someone to remove the paint professionally.
Plenty of things in our homes could be poisonous if a young child or even an adult consumes it. Be aware, store your cleaning products and medications away from little hands and keep the Poison Control number on hand. This way, you won’t be left out in the cold in the event of an emergency.
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