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Leave the poisoned apples for the fairytales

Published by , on Mar 22, 2013

snowwhiteWhile most of us non-fairytale creatures don’t keep poisoned apples lying around the house, you might be surprised by what harmful items are lurking in the dark shadows of your cabinets and closets. When child-proofing your home, you probably think of the common steps like covering sockets, removing small objects that might be choking hazards, putting a gate on the stairs and watching sharp corners and edges. But, do you ever think about the common household items like cleaning products and cosmetics that could potentially poison your child?Each year, approximately 2.4 million people swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance, and more than half of them are under the age of 6. In fact, each year an average of 100 children ages 14 and under, die as a result of unintentional poisoning.  To help raise awareness of the importance of preventing contact with poisons, the American Academy of Pediatrics supports National Poison Prevention Week, March 17 to 23.The first step to prevention is awareness. Look around your home. What potentially dangerous poisons does your house possess? Some of these items might include cleaning products, pesticides, gasoline, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, art supplies, gasoline, kerosene, furniture polish, alcohol, lamp oil, and even vitamins and medications when taken improperly.Different types and methods of poisoning require different, immediate treatment. If your child has swallowed poison, remove the item from the child, and have the child spit out any remaining substance. However, do not use syrup of ipecac or make your child vomit. If their skin or eyes have come into contact with a potential poison, rinse the affected area with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes. If your child has been in the presence of poisonous fumes, take the child outside or into fresh air immediately.If your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizures due to poison contact or ingestion, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If your child has come in contact with poison, and has mild or no symptoms, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Even if you suspect, but don’t know for sure, that your child has ingested a potentially poisonous product, call your poison control center right away just to be safe. More than 70 percent of cases are resolved by poison control over the telephone without requiring hospital services. This avoids unnecessary emergency department visits, ambulance use, hospital admissions and treatment delays.When calling the Poison Control Center or other emergency number, have the label of the substance the child came into contact with available and be prepared to give the following information:

  1. Child’s age
  2. Child’s weight
  3. Existing health conditions or other issues
  4. The substance involved and whether it was swallowed, inhaled, absorbed, etc.
  5. How long ago they came into contact with the substance
  6. Any first aid which may have already been given
  7. Whether or not the child has vomited
  8. Your location and how long it will take you to get to a hospital

To support Poison Prevention Week Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is offering a sneak peek at the new CHoR emergency infographic which everyone can enjoy in the next issue of Tid Bits. We put children’s safety first and we are helping you do the same. Use the printable infographic to organize emergency numbers as well as medical information that early responders on the phone or on the scene may request. Keep the sheet in a safe and accessible place, and alert babysitters, family members and other potential caretakers to its location. If you have questions about potentially poisonous substances or the type of information you should provide your child’s caretakers, contact your pediatrician.The good news is that accidental exposure to poisons is preventable. Knowledge is power against the wicked witch. Learn how to poison proof your home to keep the poisoned apples in the hands of Snow White and not your child.How poison proof is your home? If you have any other tips for parents trying to child proof their home, share them in the comments!Image courtesy of: The Disney Wiki

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