Posted January 10, 2011on:
Children are curious at any age and we have to help them choose what is safe and teach them to stay away from what is not. This is a life lesson. Our homes are our “safe base” yet there are thousands of calls made to the Poison Control Hot Line each year by panicked adults who need help for children who have ingested, inhaled or have touched a dangerous substance in their homes.
Common products are labeled toxic yet are on our shelves and in our cupboards; i.e. shaving cream, cleaning products, shampoos, animal products,etc. I picked up a bottle of common liquid dish soap on my sink. It reads “keep out of the reach of children”. There is specific information on what to do if swallowed or if the product comes in contact with eyes. Every common cleaner in my cupboard has the same warning and instruction. Children have access to these products all the time in most homes. We don’t think anything of it…until we are making the call to the Poison Control Hot Line.
Medicines are clearly the biggest threat. Many Poison Prevention Programs ask families to consider these common “look-alikes”:
- Tums / Sweet Tarts
- Sudafed / Red Hots
- Tylenol / Good & Plenty
- Parmesan Cheese / Comet
- Apple Juice / Pine Sol
- water / clear alcohol (this is just to name a few, there are many others)
To help children take their medicine without a big struggle, children’s liquid medicines now smell and taste like common candy, bubble gum, watermelon, cherries or grape cool-aid. Sick children and often their well siblings ask to take this medicine because they like the way it tastes! This can be very confusing to children. Medicine is not candy!
Adult prescriptions as well as over the counter medicines are life threatening when not taken exactly as prescribed. They are often on reachable shelves, dressers, countertops and in pockets and purses. Keep all medicine out of reach of children – preferable in locked cabinets.
Children’s vitamins come in all popular characters, attractive colors and have favorite flavors and smells. Their packaging is attractive. They are sealed with “child proof” (there is no such thing!) lids. Too many vitamins can quickly become too much of a good thing. Use as directed only.
Animal vitamins and products can be potentially life threatening to children yet many of them are in kitchen cupboards and hallway closets. Older children are often asked to help give animals their vitamins and medicines. Any kind of animal healthcare products should only be handled by adults!
At the beginning of 2011 take a walk through your house and open cupboards and cabinets. Replace cabinet closers if needed. Read labels. Discard (as directed) “old” medicines and vitamins. Make children’s medicines and vitamins functional – Their function is to promote health only! Talk to your children about always asking before touching and never eating or drinking anything without checking with you or their caregiver first.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Toll free poison control # 1-800-222-1222
For more information visit www.AAPCC.org
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director