Children will put just about ANYTHING into their mouth!
If in doubt, assume the worst, and call Poison Control! Better safe than sorry!
In the U.S., every day, at least 300 children between the ages of 0 and 19 years old are treated in the emergency department due to poisoning. Unfortunately, on average, 2 result in deaths.
More than 90% of poisonings occur in the home, so it is very important to keep your home safe for everyone!
Poisonous products commonly found at home:
- medications (this includes prescription drugs as well as over the counter medications like cough & cold meds, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and even vitamins
- alcohol - beer, wine, liquor
- health & beauty items including perfume, nail polish and mouthwash
- cleaning products such as drain openers, lye, bleach, disinfectants, and furniture polish, laundry/dish detergent (liquid, powder, or pods), bleach, floor wax or polish
- automotive products, such as antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid and gasoline
- paint, and paint thinner, grease remover, ice melting salt, moth balls, lime, batteries and rat poison
- lawn and garden products, such as pesticides and fertilizers
- button batteries, commonly found in small electronics, watches, hearing aids, and musical greeting cards. These can actually be deadly.
Children are naturally curious, and often when exploring, they put things into their mouths.
- Secure cabinets and drawers where dangerous items are frequently stored, so that children cannot easily open them.
- Small children also seem to be experts at finding small dangerous items under the couch, or it’s cushions.
- Clean Constantly!
Poison dangers in familiar settings outside the home
Protective Sealants on Wood Equipment and Landscaping Ties
Possible lead or peeling paint on metal equipment
Pesticides that prevent weeds
Spiders, bees and other insects
Products found on lower shelves
Spilled or open products
Samples - depending on child’s age or allergy concerns
Clean Up Stations
Items inadvertently dropped by other shoppers (from their purse, pocket or cart)
Friends’ or Grandparents’ Homes
Not every home is “child proofed”
A purse left on the floor is inviting to a child
Where is Grandma keeping her medications?
Are adult beverages out of your child’s reach?
Is there pet food or shampoo?
Most poisonings occur when children are not observed closely, so always keep a close eye on them!
Teenagers are also at risk of poisoning.
Not just alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, but prescription drugs are also of concern.
The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs actually is the fastest growing drug problem in the U.S!
1,756 teenagers abuse a prescription drug for the first time each day.
Teenagers may seek prescription drugs for various reasons, but they are all at risk of dangerous side effects.
Stimulants may have similar side effects to cocaine, including paranoia and irregular heartbeat.
Opioids may have similar side effects to heroin, including drowsiness and slowed breathing.
Depressants may cause disorientation, shallow breathing, and even seizures upon withdrawal from chronic use.
Tips for poison prevention:
- Be prepared for an emergency:
- Keep the Poison Helpline number easily accessible for all caretakers:
Text POISON to 797979 to save the number under contacts on a smartphone.
- Do not wait for signs of poisoning. A poisoned person may or may not look, feel, or act sick.
- Call 911 if your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having seizures.
* Many poisonings may be prevented by keeping an open eye,
and being aware of where your children are, and what they are doing.
* Safely store all poisonous products Up and Away
* Always store and lock up dangerous items out of reach and out of sight.
* Store in locked containers or cabinets with safety latches.
* Keep the medications and household products in their original child-resistant
containers so they are not mistaken for food or drinks.
* Read and follow all labels and directions
* Review medication and product labels every time.
Use only as directed. Also read all the warnings.
* Eliminate unnecessary products: Safely dispose of any unused or expired medications.
They may be taken to a local take-back program.
For more information on Medication Disposal Sites in your area, click HERE.
Other Helpful Resources
CDC Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries are Preventable
Poison Prevention Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Protect Your Child: Prevent Poisoning - HealthyChildren.org
Mr. Yuk: The History of Poison’s Most Iconic Symbol - Design made by a West Virginia 4th grader!
Call 911 if your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having seizures/convulsions.
For any other concerns of poisoning, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222,
which connects you to a poison expert at your local poison control center.
Dr. Christina Zeilberger
, herself the mother of an inquisitive toddler, understands the importance (and what a full time job it is!), of keeping your children safe from the many environmental dangers around them.