Kids who aren’t school-age yet are curious and can get into anything! While there are lots of dangerous items that can be appealing to a small child, here are the top five potential poisons parents should monitor:
1. Highly concentrated laundry detergent packets and bleach
Laundry detergent and bleach for high-efficiency washers is highly concentrated. Combine that fact with the squishy, multi-colored packs of detergent, and children are not only intrigued, but also can get quite sick with a small ingestion. The laundry room should be blocked off from children; laundry supplies should be placed on a high shelf and put away immediately when returning from the store.
2. Pain medications
Many households contain a number of pain medications, ranging from over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to prescriptions like hydrocodone and tramadol. All of these medications can end up on a table or the floor, and then quickly into the mouth of a small child. Keep your medications in a locked medicine cabinet and in a child-safe container. Also, if you no longer need your prescription medications, check for safe disposal options in your area. The National Prescription Take-Back Day is April 26, 2014.
3. Kids’ vitamins
While it makes it easy for kids to take their vitamins, gummy vitamins also have contributed to kids eating too many of them. Wisconsin Poison Center gets a number of calls about young children eating handfuls of gummy vitamins. Most of the time these calls don’t turn into a situation requiring medical attention, just an upset stomach. However, if the vitamins contain iron, they can be dangerous in large quantities.
A good rule of thumb is to be the one in charge of dispensing your children’s vitamins and to return the bottle to the medication shelf that is either locked or out of reach.
4. Gasoline and paint thinners
This may seem like an odd addition to the list, but often these substances are moved to a new container that may be more accessible to children. Also, even a very small amount of this liquid that gets ingested and aspirated into the lungs can cause chemical pneumonia.
Because they can be so easily choked on, do not underestimate children’s curiosity. Keep gasoline, paint thinner, lighter fluid, furniture polish, etc. up and away from your children at all times. If you have your child outside with you while you are working on a project, keep these substances away from your children.
5. Other prescription medications
Many caregivers take a variety of medicines. In particular, make sure to keep diabetes, antidepresssant and heart medications away from children. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, long-acting diabetes drugs are most likely to result in children’s hospital admission and injury after accidental poisoning. Half of the children who took those drugs were kept for observation, and about 20 percent had a resulting moderate or serious injury. Even one pill of certain adult prescription medications has killed small children.
- Meg Lesnick, external relations specialist, Wisconsin Poison Center
The Wisconsin Poison Center, located in Milwaukee, provides 24-hour, toll-free poison information for all individuals in Wisconsin. For any poison emergency, call (800) 222-1222