Childproofing home for poisons
Children account for 52 percent of all poisoning cases, and over 70 percent of these cases involve children under the age of 5. Approximately 1.4 million children under the age of 12 are poisoned in the US each year. Ordinary products used by adults each day around the home can become dangerous poisons in the hands of a child.
Common Childhood Poisonings in the Home
- products stored in old bottles and cans instead of in their original containers
- products taken out of their usual storage place and left where children can access them
- products stored in unlocked cabinets and drawers where children have easy access
- products visible and able to be seen by inquisitive children
- safety packaging which is not used or child resistant closures which are not reapplied after opening
Most Common Areas in the Home for Poisoning Accidents
- kitchen - 41 percent
- bathroom - 21 percent
- bedroom - 12 percent
- all other places such as the garage and basement - 26 percent
Tips to Help Reduce Unintentional Poisonings in the Home
- Post the number to the poison control center by every telephone where all family members and caregivers can find it easily in an emergency. Keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac with other medicines accessible but out of a child's reach. Use syrup of ipecac only if told to do so by your child's physician or the poison center.
- Teach your child about poisons at an early age.
- Buy and store all medicine and household products in child-resistant packaging. Remember that child-resistant does not mean childproof.
- Store medications, household cleaners, toiletries, paints, varnishes, thinners, pesticides, fertilizers, and other dangerous products in a locked cabinet in their original, labeled containers. Use safety latches for drawers and cabinet doors.
- Never store inedible products in food or drink containers, even when re-labeled. Children may not be able to read the label.
- Dispose of any expired drugs by flushing them down the toilet.
- Alcohol is poisonous to children. Never give a child an alcoholic beverage to drink not even in small amounts. Store alcoholic beverages out of your child's reach.
- Keep tobacco products, matches, lighters, and ashtrays out of your child's reach.
- Know your household and outdoor plants by name. Keep poisonous plants away from your child.
- Crawl through your rooms and put yourself at eye level, checking every place your children may go on their hands and knees. Be sure to properly discard anything that could be harmful.
- Do not take medication in front of your child; children are great imitators. Do not tell your child that medication is candy in order to get your child to take it.
- Read labels thoroughly every time you give medication. Many children are accidentally poisoned when given the wrong medication or the wrong dose. Mistakes often occur in the middle of the night, so be sure to turn on a light when giving medication.
- Read labels on all products you purchase before you buy or use them. Buy products that are the least toxic ones for the job.
- Be careful when visiting others, staying in hotels, or having visitors in your home. Purses and suitcases are inviting objects for children to explore.
- When answering the phone or doorbell, take poisonous products that you are using with you. Do not make them available to your child for even a moment.