7 safety tips to avoid childhood poisoning

Poisons that are dangerous to children don’t always have a warning label.

medicine bottles

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Almost 90 percent of childhood poisonings happen in the home.

Some poisons are everyday items, like household cleaners, medicines and alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 300 children under 19 are treated in an emergency room every day as a result of being poisoned, and two children die. In fact, statistics show the number of children dying from poisoning has more than doubled since 1999.

But there are steps you can take to avoid poison incidents in children.

1) Keep ALL medications out of reach of children.

  • If you have to lock them in a cabinet…do so!
  • Be sure to also check your purse/pockets for medications children can find.

2) Check your home for poisoning risks.

  • Store ALL cleaning/gardening/household chemicals in locked cabinets
  • Do not forget the garage or outside shed! Anti-freeze/petroleum products are poisonous!
  • Be sure to empty all drink containers and ashtrays after parties. Alcohol is deadly in small amounts in toddlers.

3) Never underestimate a child’s ability to climb and reach things or to remove “child safe” caps.

4) Never transfer substances from their original containers,especially to food or drink containers.

5) Avoid distractions when giving medicines to your child.

  • Check the dosage twice.
  • Only use the dosing tool that came with the medication — never use a household teaspoon as they are inaccurate.
  • Avoid double dosing by communicating with any others who will be medicating your child — write it down.
  • Follow package directions for dosing. When in doubt, ask your pediatrician or pharmacist the dosage in amount, concentration, and frequency of dosing.
  • Common measurements:  1 teaspoon is 5cc or mls  and 1 tablespoon is 15 cc or mls.
  • Children rarely, if ever, get a tablespoon of any medication.

6) Be sure to check all other places your child visits for poison risks!

This includes the homes of grandparents, friends, daycares, and Mothers-Day-Out programs.

7) If you feel your child ingested a substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

No place can be 100 percent safe, but you can follow these tips to decrease your child’s risks of poisoning.

About the Author

I enjoy children and love to work with them as they grow and mature. The relationships I form between my patients and their families make my career particularly rewarding. I practice medicine democratically, developing a partnership between physician, patient and family. Listening to my patients is my best asset.
Read more about me on my biography page.