10 Tips to Prevent Accidental Poisoning of Children

“Emergency physicians see poisonings every day in the ER, which is why we urge people to learn about the potential dangers lurking right in their homes,” says the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), David Seaberg, M.D., FACEP. “Parents in particular should be alert to those items that might entice a child to put something in their mouth. Children act fast and so do poisons.”

The ACEP wants the public to learn how to “prevent poison” during the 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24, 2012. The goal is to create national awareness about the risk of injury or death due to poisoning. From unintentional child poisonings with household products to prescription medicine abuse, poisonings and poisoning-related incidents affect every community. Even a swallowed button battery can be deadly for a child.

Child-resistant packaging on medicines and household products, as well as the ban on lead-based paint in the home are among poisoning prevention success stories. But emerging hazards involving pest control products, prescription medicine abuse, and button batteries have again reignited the need for increased awareness. Four million calls were placed to America’s poison control centers last year.

10 Tips to Prevent Accidental Poisoning of Children

1. Store all medicines — prescription and non-prescription — locked safely away from children.

2. Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing securely after use.

3. Never refer to medicines as “candy” when speaking to children.

4. Ask guests to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them away and out of sight when they are in your home

5. Keep cleaning supplies locked up and out of the reach of children.

6. Keep all products in their original containers with the original labels.

7. When products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even if you must take the child or product along when answering the phone or doorbell.

8. Lamps or candles containing lamp oil should never be left within reach of a child.

9. Households with children should never use loose bait or loose pellet rodent control products.

10. Households with children should never use soft drink bottles or cups to hold paint thinner, turpentine, gasoline, or other household chemicals. Children may be tempted to drink them.

Children do act fast, and those under age five are particularly vulnerable to accidental poisoning because they learn by touching and putting things in their mouths. From crawling to learning to walk, they quickly learn to reach and explore new things. The best way to baby proof the home is to get down to a child’s eye view.