Anyone who has spent time around small children knows how easy it is for them to get into things they aren’t supposed to. And their curiosity often leads them to put things in their mouths, even if it has a foul smell or taste.
Poison Control Centers in the United States receive millions of calls every year from family members or individuals who have sustained a potential poisoning. Potential poisonings in young children will account for a large majority of calls made to poison centers. In 2013, about one-half of all poison exposure calls made to poison centers involved children younger than the age of 6. However, in the same year, 92 percent of all poison-related deaths that were reported to poison centers were adults. So adults need to be just as vigilant in protecting themselves against poisons and they are in protecting young children. Some of the most dangerous potential poisons are medications, cleaning products, liquid nicotine, and pesticides.
Many poisonings occur when parents or caregivers are home but are either distracted or not paying attention. In fact, 90 percent of poisonings will occur in the home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Safe Kids offer the following tips to help keep you and family safe from the risk of a poisoning.
- Never mix household or chemicals products together. Doing so can create a dangerous gas.
- Store medications in their original containers and never share prescription medications.
- Keep all chemicals and household cleaners in locked cabinets or out of reach of children. Keep items out of the sight of young children who are often at eye-level with items located under the bathroom and kitchen sinks.
- Store all chemicals and household cleaners in their original containers. Changing containers can lead someone to mistake a poisonous product for something less harmful.
- Do not leave potentially poisonous products unattended while in use.
- Wear protective clothing if you spray pesticides or other chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin.
Although you may do everything possible to prevent a poisoning from happening in your home, accidents can still happen. If you suspect that a poisoning has occurred, call a Poison Control Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. Poison control centers are available 24/7 and offer fast, free confidential help in English and Spanish. So be sure that the number is readily available in your home. Post the number for a poison control center by every phone and on your refrigerator; also save the number in your cell phone.