National Poison Prevention week is March 18-24, but parents can help prevent poisoning every day. It only takes a second for little hands to access harmful chemicals or medications that are meant for mom and dad.
Make sure that your little ones cannot gain access to these common household items.
Highly concentrated laundry detergent packets and bleach
Laundry detergent and bleach for high-efficiency washers is highly concentrated. Combine that fact with the squishy, multi-colored packs of detergent that tend to look like candy, and children are not only intrigued, but can also get quite sick with a small ingestion. The laundry room should be blocked off from children and laundry supplies should be placed on a high shelf and put away immediately.
Prescription drugs and non-prescription pain medications
Many caregivers take a variety of medicines. In particular, make sure to keep diabetes, anti-depressant and heart medications away from children. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, long-acting diabetes drugs are most likely to result in children’s hospital admission and injury after accidental poisoning. Pain medications also pose a risk, whether prescription medication or over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. All of these medications can quickly end up in the mouth of a small child when spilled on a table or the floor. Keep your medications in a locked medicine cabinet and in a child-safe container. If you no longer need your prescription medications, check for safe disposal in your area.
While gummy vitamins make it easy for kids to take their vitamins, they also can pose a danger. The Wisconsin Poison Center gets a number of calls about young children eating handfuls of gummy vitamins. Most of the time these calls don’t turn into a situation requiring medical attention, just an upset stomach. However, if the vitamins contain iron, they can be dangerous in large quantities. A good rule of thumb is to dispense your child’s vitamins yourself and return the bottle to a medicine shelf that is either locked or out of reach.
Gasoline and paint thinners
This may seem like an odd addition to the list, but often these substances are transferred to a container that may be accessible to children. If even a small amount of these liquids are ingested and aspirated into the lungs, it can cause chemical pneumonia. Keep gasoline, paint thinner, lighter fluid, furniture polish, etc. up and away from your children at all times. If you have your children outside with you while you are working on a project, take special care to keep them away from these substances.