If your child is crawling, it's time to poison-proof your home. If there's a poisonous substance within his reach, he will find it. Children can't be trusted not to put poisonous substances in their mouth until age 4 or 5, so here are some tips for protecting them:
- First: Remember that vitamins are also a medicine. Those containing iron can cause a serious poisoning.
- Second: Remember to keep medications and chemicals locked up or out of reach of children. Think about where you keep drain cleaners, furniture polish, drugs, and insecticides. These are the most dangerous poisons available in your home. Products you used to store under the sink now need to go into a high cabinet. A small amount of drain cleaner can scar your child for life.
- Third: Keep alcoholic beverages out of a child's reach. As little as 3 ounces of hard liquor can kill a 2-year-old child. Remember that most mouthwashes contain 15 to 25 percent alcohol.
- Fourth: Whenever you or your child is prescribed a new medication, remember to keep the safety cap on and make sure that you are giving the right dose.
- Fifth: Don't leave medicines on countertops, especially when you are called away to the door or telephone.
- Sixth: Don't leave medicines in a purse because children often search them for candy or gum. When you have guests, keep purses out of reach of children.
- Seventh: Know the names of all your houseplants and remove any that could cause symptoms other than vomiting or diarrhea. Teach your child never to put leaves, stems, seeds, or berries from any plant into her mouth without your permission.
- Eighth: Don't store any chemicals in soft-drink bottles.
- Ninth: Syrup of Ipecac is no longer used for poisonings. If you have any ipecac in your home, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet.
- Finally: Keep the telephone number of the Poison Center handy. If your child is poisoned, call them immediately to see what you should do.
If you have other questions about poisoning, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 9/1/2004
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.