Monday, March 22, 2010

Protecting Children From Unintentional Poisoning


It is natural for children to explore their surroundings, unless they’re getting under the kitchen sink or into the medicine cabinet where hazardous chemicals and adult medicines are kept.

Each year, unintentional poisoning is the cause of death for approximately 100 children ages 14 years and under and poison control centers in the United States receive 1.2 million calls as a result of accidental poisoning of children ages 5 and under. Nearly 90 percent of these toxic exposures occur in the home, and 56 percent involve non-pharmaceutical products such as cosmetics, cleansers, personal care products, plants, pesticides, art supplies, alcohol and toys.

Child-resistant packaging is credited with saving hundreds of children’s lives since its introduction in the 1970s. Still, there is no substitute for active supervision and childproofing.

“If a child is choking, having trouble breathing or having a seizure, call 911 instead,” said Sage. “Follow the 911 operator’s instructions. Do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed.”

Safe Kids offers these additional tips:
~ Lock up potential poisons out of sight and reach of kids. This includes makeup, medicine, plants, cleaning products, pesticides, art supplies, baking extracts, and beer, wine and liquor.~ Never leave kids alone with an open container of something you wouldn’t want them to ingest. A child can be poisoned in a matter of seconds.
~ Don’t refer to medicine or vitamins as candy and don’t involve children as helpers with your medication.
~ Choose medicines and products that have child-resistant caps. When you are giving medicine to your children, follow dosage directions carefully.
~ Keep products in their original containers. Read labels to learn if a product is poisonous and for first aid information.
~ If your home was built before 1978, test for lead-based paint and get your child tested for lead exposure. Children inhale the dust of lead-based paint and can build up enough lead in their blood to affect intelligence, growth and development.
~ Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that builds up around fuel-burning appliances and cars in garages. It can make a child seriously ill in concentrations that would barely affect an adult.
~ Know which plants in and around your home can be poisonous.
~ Discuss these precautions with grandparents and caregivers. They may have medications that can be very dangerous to children and their homes might not be as well childproofed as yours.

Learn the toll-free poison control center number: 1-800-222-1222 and keep the number near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone. This number connects you to your local poison control center from anywhere in the United States.

For more information on Safe Kids contact:

Safe Kids Blue Mountain Coordinator
Providence St Mary Medical Center
209 W. Poplar
Walla Walla, WA 99328
509.529.8929 Office
509.520.4837 Cell
509.522.5915 Fax

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