When we become new parents, baby proofing our homes tends to rank near the top of our parenting to-do lists. When my daughter was born, I received a few books about child proofing (and the potential disasters to watch out for) that still slightly terrify me to this day! However, as our kids grow a little older, we start relaxing a bit, especially once it seems that they’ve finally stopped putting everything in reach into their mouth. Unfortunately, when it comes to household poisons, we can’t let our guard down. With so many dangerous and potentially deadly poisons lurking around our homes, we need to remain vigilant with child proofing. Luckily, this week is National Poison Prevention Week (March 21-27), so we are going to learn how to prevent poisonings in your home, as well as what to do in case of an emergency.
Did you know that there are TWO FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL WAYS you can get help in a poison emergency?
You can contact Poison Control by phone, or you can get help online! Before we go on, take a minute to stop and add this info into your contacts. It’s also a good idea to write this number down and put it somewhere everyone can see it, such as your refrigerator.
- Phone: 1-800-222-1222
- Online: webpoisoncontrol.org
Poisons aren’t always labeled with a big skull and cross bones. ☠️ While we probably all know that insecticides are dangerous, we might not think about other potentially poisonous items. Some of the most dangerous and/or common poisons include items like plants, medicines, carbon monoxide, iron pills, nail polish remover and primer, button batteries, cleaning products, windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze, personal care products including perfumes, lotions, etc., alcohol (both food grade and medical grade), medicated skin creams, and hydrocarbons (including motor oil, kerosene, paint thinner, etc.) (NCPC, 2021)
Here is a cute, downloadable Coloring Book from poisoncontrol.org designed to help young children identify which household items are safe and which are dangerous.
As much as we try to teach our young children to be aware of poisons, it’s ultimately up to us to protect our children and keep poisons locked up and out of reach. According to Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, “there is little firm evidence that preschool children can reliably learn to avoid dangerous substances”, and since children learn about the world by putting things in their mouth (even up to the age of 5), it’s our job to lock up and keep household poisons out of reach.
5 Childproofing Tips
- Keep dangerous household items such as medicines, laundry and cleaning chemicals, paints, varnishes, glue, pesticides, etc. in their original packaging to prevent confusion. Use a child safety lock to keep these items locked up and out of reach. (Poison Prevention & TREATMENT Tips, 2021)
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in all bedrooms. Some smoke detectors also include carbon monoxide detectors, but be sure to check yours to make sure you know what kind you have, as not all of them do.
- Laundry detergent packets are responsible for way too many poisonings because they look just like candy to a young child. (Poison Prevention & TREATMENT Tips, 2021) Sadly, even older kids and teens have been poisoned from eating these, due to the highly dangerous “Tide Pod Challenge” fad a few years ago.
- Keep purses, backpacks, and diaper bags up high and out of children’s reach. Children can often find dangerous items such as hand sanitizer, medicine, keys and button batteries, etc. in our bags.
- Keep any household items with button batteries locked up and out of reach! We actually bought a battery storage container like this one that we keep in our garage and out of our daughters reach to store all of our batteries. Just be sure to hang it up high even if you put it in your garage, since this one doesn’t have a lock!
This super helpful chart from Georgia Poison Center provides a handy room – by – room poison prevention checklist! (Is Your Home Poison Safe?, 2018)
Despite our best efforts, we all know accidents can still happen sometimes. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re unsure whether your child may have gotten into something poisonous it’s best to call and ask the experts at Poison Control.
But what can you expect when you call the poison control number?
A trained toxicology specialist will answer and ask you the following questions: (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2014)
- Your name and phone number
- Age of the poisoning victim
- Name of the product involved in the poisoning
- Amount involved
- Time the poisoning occurred
- Any symptoms the poisoning victim is experiencing
Based on the information you give them, they will walk you through what to do next. They may tell you there’s no need to worry, or give you instructions for at home care, or tell you to call 911.
While the thought of our children getting into poison seems terrifying, with a little bit of knowledge and prevention we can keep our kids safe!
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (2014, October 13). Poisoning primer for parents and educators. Retrieved March 2021, from https://www.chop.edu/health-resources/poisoning-primer-parents-and-educators
Poison Prevention & TREATMENT Tips. (2021, February 16). Retrieved March 2021, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/Pages/Poison-Prevention.aspx
NCPC. (2021). Common and Dangerous Poisons. Retrieved March, 2021, from https://www.poison.org/common-and-dangerous-poisons
Nationwide Children’s. (2020). Poisonings and Poison Prevention. Retrieved March, 2021, from https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/poison-prevention
Is Your Home Poison Safe? (2018). Retrieved March, 2021, from https://training.georgiapoisoncenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Is-Your-Home-Poison-Safe-2018.png
About the Author
Amber Gorski has been a member of CECPTA with her daughter since 2018 and is in the purple playgroup. She has served on the CECPTA Board as the Children’s Programming Chair and is currently the Publicity Chair. She is the gal behind the scenes of our social media handles and the hashtag queen. When she is not doing activities with the PTA, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and their three fur-babies. She also enjoys doing embroidery, making jewelry and finding fun crafts to do with her daughter.