The common items in your home that can poison a child - AmericaNowNews.com

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The common items in your home that can poison a child

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Half of all calls to poison control centers in the United States involve children younger than five. Poisoning is the fourth-leading cause of death among children.

Will is 15 months old. He's walking now and beginning to touch, feel, and put in his mouth whatever catches his eye.  

"You have to look for everything," said Will's father, Jeffrey Shields.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 90 percent of all poisonings occur at home.

Most calls to the 57 poison control centers across the country involve children who accidentally swallowed something.

"Everything has to be set up somewhere just so he can't reach it," Shields said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 60,000 children will end up in emergency rooms this year because they managed to ingest medicines when an adult wasn't paying attention.

Dr. Anna Dulaney has worked at the Carolinas Poison Center in Charlotte, N. C. for 20 years. She has spoken to hundreds of people throughout the years who panicked after discovering their small child swallowed a potentially poisonous substance.

She says parents, grandparents and babysitters need to do a better job securing over-the-counter medicines.

"Sometimes, one tablet is enough to cause severe harm or death to a child," Dulaney said. 

Most of us know to keep our pills up high where children can't reach them, but don't be fooled into thinking your medicine is safe if it is in a ‘child-proof' bottle.

"Prescription bottles come in containers that are called child-resistant containers, but not child-proof. There is nothing that is childproof," Dulaney warns.

Bathrooms and purses are two of the more dangerous places in a home for a small child because that's where you'll usually find cosmetic and personal care products. 

Primers for acrylic nails have caused burns to the skin and mouths of children who tried to swallow them.

Adult iron pills—if swallowed—can cause a child to start throwing up blood and having bloody diarrhea.

What you may not realize is that some brands of mouthwash, facial cleaners and hair tonics contain the same amount of alcohol as an alcoholic drink left unattended on your coffee table.

Alcohol in a child can cause seizures, a coma or even death.

"Children under the age of six are not yet able to determine if something is safe," said Dulaney. "They can't read labels; they can't yet make rational decisions about whether something is harmful or not."

The leading causes of poisoning death of children involve hydrocarbons, which are typically found in products like gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, furniture polish and paint thinner.

If any of these products enter a child's lungs, it could make it hard for them to breathe and cause death.

So, while you're putting those items high and out of reach, don't forget about the windshield washer solution -- it can cause blindness or death if swallowed. Antifreeze can cause kidney failure or death.

Dulaney says one of the best things parents can do is to get down on the floor and look around at your child's eye level so you'll know what they're able to see and reach. 

"They're excited and exploring their world in the only way a child knows how, which is through taste and touch," Dulaney said. "Look and see what they can see and be attractive to them and if it's something dangerous, move it."

Always keep potential poisons out of reach or locked up.

Medicines and dietary supplements can be stored in a medicine safe or locked cabinet. You can even use a tackle box as long as it has a lid you can lock.

Be sure to post the national poison help number (1-800-222-1222) by any phones in your home, and program this number into your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A poison specialist can tell you if something your child has accidentally swallowed is dangerous, and if you need to go to the emergency room.

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Additional Information

  • In 2010 there were 41,592 deaths attributed to poison2, yet poison centers were consulted in only 1,730 poisoning fatalities3 (4%). The CDC estimated that there were 1,098,880 poisoning injuries in 2010 that resulted in a visit to an emergency department2. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.poison.org/stats/#Poisonings:_The_National_Picture_).
  • The top five most common exposures in children age 5 years or less were cosmetics/personal care products (13.2%), analgesics (9.4%), household cleaning substances (9.2%), foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous (7.2%), and topical preparations (6.8%). (Source: National Poison Control Center).
  • More than 60,000 young children are seen in emergency departments each year because they got into medicines while their parents or caregivers were not looking. (Source: CDC).
  • Click here to read about ways to Prevent Unintentional Poisoning.

The following information is from the National Capital Poison Center.

  • The most common poisons among children are:

cosmetics and personal care products
cleaning substances
pain medicine/fever-reducers
coins, thermometers
plants
diaper care, acne preparations, antiseptics
cough and cold preparations
pesticides
vitamins
gastrointestinal preparations
antimicrobials
arts, crafts and office supplies
antihistamines
hormones and hormone antagonists (diabetes medications, contraceptives)
hydrocarbons (lamp oil, kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid)

  • The most common poisons among adults are: 

pain medicine
sedatives, hypnotics, antipsychotics
cleaning substances
antidepressants
bites and envenomations
alcohols
food products and food poisoning
cosmetics and personal care products
chemicals
pesticides
cardiovascular drugs
fumes, gases, vapors
hydrocarbons
antihistamines
anticonvulsants
antimicrobials
stimulants and street drugs
plants
cough and cold preparations

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