Preventing child poisonings: it’s up to us

National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW) is March 19-24. According to NPPW, more than two million children are poisoned every year – 90 percent of the time it happens at home.

NPPW has some great resources for poisonproofing your home, keeping your home safe, locating poison centers, and a lot more here: http://www.poisonprevention.org/materials.htm

In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests some important tips to prevent and treat poison.
Prevention-safety measures

  • Store medicine, cleaners, paints/varnishes and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children.
  • Install a safety latch – that locks when you close the door – on child-accessible cabinets containing harmful products.
  • Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps and keep out of reach of children. Discard unused medication.
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.
  • Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage.
  • Never place poisonous products in food or drink containers.
  • Keep coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order.
  • Maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Secure remote controls, key fobs, greeting cards, and musical children’s books. These and other devices may contain small button-cell batteries that can cause injury if ingested.

Treatment:

  • Swallowed poison – Remove the item from the child, and have the child spit out any remaining substance. Do not make your child vomit. Do not use syrup of ipecac.
  • Skin poison — Remove the child’s clothes and rinse the skin with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Eye poison — Flush the child’s eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a steady stream of room temperature water into the inner corner for 15 minutes.
  • Poisonous fumes – Take the child outside or into fresh air immediately. If the child has stopped breathing, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and do not stop until the child breathes on his or her own, or until someone can take over.

The APP also urges those in need of help to contact the helpline to get immediate assistance.

For emergency cases like the child is unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizure due to poison contact or ingestion, call 911 or your local emergency number. For mild symptoms call your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

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