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Childhood Poison Prevention

Most childhood poisonings occur in children who are between one and three years of age. This can be accounted to the fact that this age group is mobile, they love to put things in their mouth, and they have no concept of hazards. However, childhood poisoning can occur in any age group.

The medicine cabinet is the most common place for children to consume things which would cause them harm. However, ordinary household items can also be poisonous. Care givers of small children should completely survey the home to identify poisonous items. House plants, cleaners, lead and iron products are often overlooked poisonous items.

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Poison Prevention Tips

  • Make sure that all medications have child proof caps. Keep all medication out of the reach of children. Children watch adults and like to mimic them. If a child has seen you take medication, they may be curious to do so, too. Try to take your medication when you are away from the child.
  • Store all cleaners and chemicals in one or two separate and locked cabinets. A few of the cleaners and chemicals which can harm children include bleach, weed killers, lye, alcohol, paint, paint thinners, fingernail polish, fingernail polish remover, mothballs, drain cleaners, rat poison, and household cleaners such as furniture polish, air fresheners, and ammonia.
  • Be mindful of your houseplants. Many of them are poisonous if ingested. These can include jade plants, holly berry, pepper plants, oleander, and the poinsettia. Know which plants you have in your home and in your yard. If you are unclear, ask an expert to identify them for you.
  • Always store household products in their original containers, never transfer from one container to another.
  • Keep all mouthwashes, perfumes, aftershaves and colognes out of the reach of children. These products contain alcohol and can be harmful if ingested.

Try to keep the telephone number of the local poison control center in your area taped to your phone. Give the telephone number of your child’s pediatrician and local children’s hospital posted near the phone in case of an accidental poisoning.

All care givers should have a bottle of ipecac in their medicine cabinet to administer to a child if they are instructed to do so. Syrup of ipecac is given in certain situations to induce vomiting. However, you should never give your child ipecac unless you have been advised to do so by a professional from the poison control center or from your child’s pediatrician. Certain poisons will only cause more harm if vomiting is induced.

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