Children under age six account for half of all poison exposures. Poisoning is preventable and treatable. When baby-proofing your home, make sure you are poison-proofing it as well.
How to poison-proof your home
Know what is poisonous. Chemicals and cleaning products are on the list. But don’t forget:
- Medications (including prescription, over-the-counter and vitamins)
- Cosmetics and personal care products (mouthwash, nail polish remover)
- Household plants
- Button batteries
Lock up all medicines and dangerous substances. Secure them in high places with latches and locks.
Remember that child-resistant isn’t childproof. A child-resistant cap will delay kids from opening the container but doesn’t always prevent them from succeeding. Bottles with child-resistant caps should still be locked away in a hard-to-reach area.
Keep items in their original containers. Never keep poisonous products in unlabeled containers or containers once used to store food. In a clear bottle, antifreeze resembles apple juice.
Move purses out of reach. Brightly colored items from mom’s purse, like lipstick or color coated pills can look like candy to a young child. Make sure you purse is stored high away from your child’s reach.
Put batteries out of reach. Button batteries are a chocking hazard and can also release dangerous chemicals in the intestines when swallowed.
Don’t call medicine candy. Even when you’re trying to get a reluctant child to take medicine, never refer to it as a treat.
Watch your child. Thorough poison proofing is not a substitute for a watchful eye.
What to do if your child may have swallowed a dangerous substance
If your child is unconscious, not breathing or having a seizure, call 911 immediately.
Otherwise, contact the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ national emergency hotline: 800-222-1222. Add the number now to your contact list or post in a visible space, before an emergency occurs. Call even if your child seems okay, to learn if you should seek medical attention.