Child Safety

Poisonings and Prevention

Safety information, tips, and myths (learn the truth)

In 2010, more than 68,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for unintentional poisonings, and in 2009,109 children died. It is important to protect our children from accessing poisons. Call your Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for treatment information when a poisoning occurs.

Prevent your child from getting into harmful products

  • Remember child resistant packaging only makes poisonous substances more difficult to get in to, but not impossible.
  • Know your products - learn which ones are poisonous. Read Labels.
  • Spray bottles do not have child resistant covers - be careful!
  • Keep medicines and products in their original containers
  • Be sure to examine what other people bring into your home and take the appropriate precautions (such as moving it out of child's reach)
  • Keep poisons and dangerous substances locked away in cabinets, and return to safe storage immediately after use
  • Store products and food in separate areas
  • Never tell children medication is candy and never take medication in front of them
  • Place medicines in the trash just before pick-up so children and animals won’t get to it
  • Never tell children medication is candy and never take medication in front of them

House Plant Safety Tips:

  • Keep all house plants out of your child’s reach
  • Teach children not to taste, play with, or eat non-food plants both indoors and outdoors
  • Teach children to never put mushrooms, berries, leaves, flowers, stems, bulbs or seeds in their mouths
  • Know the names of all your plants - indoor and outdoor
  • Label each plant with it’s common and botanical names
  • Never assume a plant is non-toxic because birds or wildlife eat it

First Aid for Poisoning:

  • Poison on the skin. Remove all contaminated clothing and flood the skin with water for 10 minutes. Then, wash the affected area gently with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Do not try to neutralize the poison by using any other substances.
  • Poison in the eye. Flood the eye with lukewarm (not hot) water poured from a large glass 2 to 3 inches from the eye. Repeat for 15 minutes. Have the patient blink as much as possible while flooding the eye. Do not force the eyelid open.
  • Poison by inhalation. Immediately get the person to fresh air. Avoid breathing fumes. Open all doors and windows wide. If victim is not breathing, then start artificial respiration.
  • Poison by swallowing. Remove as much from the mouth as possible. Give a small amount of milk or wa- ter to drink if a cleaning product or chemical was swallowed. Do not attempt to induce vomiting.

Poison Myths...Learn the Truth

From the March/April 2011 Issue of Poison Prevention Press - Volume 4,Issue 2)

Each year, the Maryland Poison Center manages over 65,000 calls from Marylanders. These calls are about household products, medicines, chemicals, food and poisons in the environment (including plants, insects and snakes). Many callers are shocked to find out that things they think are deadly poisons are really not a problem. Others discover that things they thought were safe could actually be dangerous. In addition, a number of myths regarding poisons have surfaced over the years. What are some of these myths?

Myth 1: Symptoms from poisons occur immediately.
Truth 1: Symptoms from a poisoning or overdose can be immediate, but they can also be delayed by minutes or hours. The correct action is to call the poison center as soon as a poisoning or overdose is suspected.

Myth 2: Children will not eat something that tastes bad.
Truth 2: Children may not have a fully developed sense of taste. What tastes bad to an adult may not taste bad to a child. In general, children are curious enough to taste anything.

Myth 3: Children cannot open child-proof containers.
Truth 3: The containers are actually not child-proof...they are child- resistant. These containers are meant to slow children from opening the product, but if given enough time, many children will open the child-resistant cap.

Myth 4: Children can become drunk from licking hand sanitizer from their
hands.
Truth 4: Licking a single squirt or a pea-sized amount of hand sanitizer from their hands is not dangerous. However, consuming larger quantities from the bottle can be dangerous. Always use the product as directed.

Myth 5: Sunscreen in the eyes will cause blindness.
Truth 5: Sunscreen in the eyes is very irritating, but it will not cause blindness. Even though the products are usually waterproof, flushing the eyes with water for 15 minutes will remove the product and minimize damage to the eye.

Myth 6: Herbal and natural remedies are completely safe and non-toxic.
Truth 6: Herbal and natural products do not have to meet the same safety standards as medicines. Some products have even been found to contain substances not listed on the label. Natural products can interact with medicines, so it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are using a natural product, and only use well-known brands.

Myth 7: Poinsettias are poisonous.
Truth 7: Poinsettias will cause mild stomach upset only if a very large amount of the leaves are eaten. Pets may be a little more sensitive, but the plant is not deadly to people or pets.

The best source for information about poisons is the poison center...a quick call to 1-800-222-1222 will get the answers to all of your poison questions.

Post and share this edition of Poison Prevention Press with your colleagues, friends and family. Read past issues of Poison Prevention Press and subscribe to the newsletter at www.mdpoison.com

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