Curiosity is a natural stage of your child’s development, but it also puts them at risk of unintentional poisoning. Unintentional poisoning can be caused by common household products including cleaning supplies, cosmetics, plants, toys, pesticides, art supplies, alcohol, medicines, vitamins and carbon monoxide. In 2002, more than 1.2 million such poisonings among children ages 5 and under were reported to U.S. poison control centers. In 2001, 96 children ages 14 and under died from poisoning incidents.
Child-resistant packaging, product reformulation and interventions by poison control centers and health professionals all helped reduce the childhood poison-related death rate 45 percent from 1974 to 1992. By reducing the opportunity for poisonings and knowing how to keep innocent mistakes from turning into tragedies, you can help that number decline even further.
- Keep cleaning products in their original containers. Never put a potentially poisonous product in something other than its original container (like a plastic soda bottle), where it could be mistaken for something harmless.
- Know which household products are poisonous and lock up poisons out of children’s sight and reach.
Around the house
- Be aware of medications that may be in your handbag. Store handbags out of the reach of young children.
- Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home.
- Don’t run a car engine in the garage, even to warm it up.
In the bathroom
- Always read labels and follow the exact directions. Give children medicines based on their weights and ages, and only use the dispensers that come packaged with children’s medications
- Never refer to medicine or vitamins as “candy.”
- Drowsiness, hyperactivity, or confusion
- Stomach pain
- Enlarged or shrunken pupils
- Excessive drooling or dry mouth and skin
- Faster or slower than normal heart rate
- Increased or decreased breathing rate