Each year, approximately three million people, many of them young children, swallow or make contact with a poisonous substance.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers these tips to prevent and treat exposure to poison.
Most incidents occur when parents or caregivers are home but not paying attention. The most dangerous potential poisons are medicines, cleaning products, liquid nicotine, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil. Be especially vigilant when there is a change in routine.
Store medicine, cleaning and laundry products, paints/varnishes and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children. It is best to use traditional liquid or powder laundry detergents instead of detergent packets until all children who live in or visit your home are at least 6 years old.
Safety latches that automatically lock when you close a cabinet door can help keep children away from dangerous products, but they are not 100% foolproof. The safest place to store poisonous products is somewhere a child can’t see or reach or see.
Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Properly discard unused medication. Safety caps are designed to be child resistant but are not fully childproof.
Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.
If you use an e-cigarette, keep the liquid nicotine refills locked up out of children’s reach and only buy refills that use child-resistant packaging. A small amount of liquid nicotine spilled on the skin or swallowed can be fatal to a child.
Never place poisonous products in food or drink containers.
Keep natural gas-powered appliances, furnaces, and coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order.
Maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Secure remote controls, key fobs, greeting cards, and musical children’s books. Any devices that contain small button-cell batteries can cause injury if ingested.