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Preventing Child Poisoning In The Home

It is often said that you can never be too careful when it comes to children. From the moment they are able to crawl, they become bundles of curiosity, and every corner seems worth exploring. Understandably, this increases the element of risk and as parents we have to take steps to ensure their safety.

Aside from the risk of bumps and bruises, and being hit by falling objects, which is bad enough, there is also the potential of child poising from normal everyday items. Here are some tips to help lower the risk of child poisoning. Some of them may seem obvious, but they are worth repeating.

Childproof your home. Move all household chemicals to cupboards that can be locked. When you need to take anything out, be sure to lock the cupboards afterwards. Seeing you remove something is all the incentive a curious mind needs to explore inside cabinets. Childproofing needs changes as children grow. So what you put in place for a crawler will not work for a toddler. This is a mistake many parents make, they forget to step up their childproofing for the different stages of a child’s development.

Other ways to prevent child poisoning include:

  • When house cleaning, make sure that you never leave cleaning solution where small hands can reach them. Some parents figure they’ll be gone for a just a few seconds so there is little chance of mishap. However, children are quicker than we think. You may be surprised how easily they can get hold of objects that seem out of reach. If you have to take a break from cleaning, take the child with you or put items being used out of reach. Best of all, try not to clean with children in the same vicinity.
  • Since children like to mimic what we do, it may be best to avoid taking your medication in front of them. Also, for children old enough to understand, you must make it clear that it is your medicine, and that they should not touch it. Most importantly, keep all medication out of the reach of children and lock cabinets.
  • When visiting a home where no children live, you must never let the child out of your sight. Unfamiliar territory poses a whole new set of risks. Keep in mind too that adults who live in homes without children may not be as vigilant about removing potentially harmful substances, even when they know you are coming over.
  • When possible, purchase products that come in child-resistant containers.
  • Find out all you can about the plants you have in your home. Some of them may be poisonous. In the event that the unthinkable happens, you should know the names of all your plants so you can pass this information on to a doctor. It might be best to limit the amount of plants in the home, and where possible place them out of reach.
  • Don’t transfer chemicals to other containers, unless they are properly labeled. If you don’t know what’s in these containers it is easier to lose track of them. Never place chemicals in drink containers, even if they are properly labeled. Remember that most children under five cannot read.

No matter how vigilant we are as parents, sometimes accidents will happen. With this in mind, it is important to recognize the signs of poisoning such as

  • rashes
  • dizziness
  • unusual behavior
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • increased heart rate
  • blurred or double vision.

If you notice any of these signs, check for the smell of chemicals on the breath. Lastly, you should have the numbers for the poison control centers close to all telephones in the home. Better yet, store important numbers on the phone. ( Find your local Poison Control Center’s phone number here )

Statistics from the National Safety Council state that poison centers get a call about poisoning every 15 seconds. A recent survey also said that 53% of poisonings involved children who were under six. The majority of these were due to regular items found in the home. As frightening as these statistics are, it is a reminder that when it comes to child safety, we have a lot of work to do.

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