It is nearly Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23) so I thought I’d take the opportunity to give parents, grandparents, and other caregivers a little refresher from the Poison Control Center.
A shiny, brightly colored square is just within the reach of a toddler. Is it a piece of candy? To the toddler it may look like a sweet treat, a toy or a teething product. Even adults can mistake many toxic household cleaning products and medicines for something else.
Keep Children Safe
Recently a newer household product, highly concentrated, single-load laundry packets or pods, have put people at risk of serious injury from the chemicals. Children under 5 are the most likely to put the pods in their mouths. The liquid laundry packets are attractive to children as play items because they are soft and colorful. Brooke got into a dishwasher detergent pod once and I was so thankful I knew about the Poison Control Center- they helped me without judgement and all was well. They even called back to check on her!
In 2012 alone, the Consumer Product Safety Commission had 500 reports of children and adults injured by the packets. Fortunately, the largest manufacturer of laundry detergent pods in the United States added a double-latch lid safety feature to its pod container.
Laundry room accidents are common, and often occur with an adult just a step away. According to Art Kubic, a pharmacist with the Poison Control Center, objects that are eye level with small children are the ones they are most likely to grab and put in their mouths. Kubic suggests that you keep your cleaning supplies closed, out of reach and out of the laundry basket.
Kubic said that gym bags left on the floor are another source of accidents for children. It can be dangerous to leave deodorants, shampoos, soaps and muscle creams within the reach of children.
Adults Are Also at Risk
Whether or not you have children in your house, it’s important to keep your laundry room and other areas safe. In 2010, about half of the calls to Poison Control Centers nationally involved children under 6, but 92 percent of those who died from poisoning were adults.
For example, some products look so similar to food, drinks or other edible items that even adults can confuse them. Store cleaning and other chemical products away from foods. Follow the directions on the package when using chemical products.
And be careful when taking medicines. Keep them out of the reach of children- prescription or over the counter. Read labels carefully. Many adult poisonings are a result of mistakes with doses or mixing medication with other medicines or the wrong food or drink.
In Case of Poisoning, Call 800-222-1222
Be sure to have the Poison Control hotline number, 800-222-1222, in a place you can get to quickly. Share the number with anyone taking care of children. They don’t make you feel bad for whatever happened, they just help. You can even call the number if your pet got into something they shouldn’t have. In the case of accidental poisoning or chemicals in the eyes, call the hotline before taking any other action, like giving ipecac to induce vomiting. Wait to get advice first. The Poison Control Center can help make sure you take the right action for your situation.