Poison-Proofing your Home

Poison-proofing your home is the key to preventing childhood poisonings. In the case of iron-containing pills or any medicine:

  •  Always close the container as soon as you've finished using it.
  • Properly secure the child-resistant packaging, and put it away immediately in a place where children can't reach it
  •  Keep pills in their original container.
  • Keep iron-containing tablets, and all medicines, out of reach and out of sight of children.
  • Never keep medicines on a countertop or bedside table.
  • Follow medicine label directions carefully to avoid accidental overdoses or misdoses that could result in accidental poisoning.
  • For other substances, buy the least hazardous products that will serve your purposes. When buy art supplies, for example, look for products that are safe for children.
  • For hazardous products such as gasoline, kerosene, and paint thinners that are often kep on hand indefinitely, buy only as much as you need and safety get rid of what you don't use. Never transfer these substances to other containers. People often use cups, soft drink bottles, or milk cartons to store leftover paint thinner or turpentine. This is a bad idea because children associate cups and bottles wtih food and drink.The kitchen and bathroom are the most likely unsafe areas.
  • Medicines should never be stored in teh bathroom for another reason -- a bathroom's warm, moist environment tends to cause changes or disintegration of the product in these rooms.
  • Any cabinet containing a potentially poisonous item should be locked.Remember that child-resistant caps are child-resistant, not childproof. The legal definition is that it takes greater than 5 minutes for 80% of 5-year-olds to get into it -- that means that 20% can get into the container in less time.
  • Also, remember that children are more sensitive to the toxic effects of alcohol than are adults, and it doesn't take much alcohol to produce such effects. Alcohol-laced products, such as some mouthwashes, aftershaves or colognes, can cause the same problems\
  • Garages and utility rooms should also be checked for potential poison hazards. Antifreeze, windshield washing fluid, and other products should be stored out of reach of children in a locked cabinet. Childproof safety latches can be purchased at your local hardware store.In the living room or family room, know your plants' names and their poison potential.
  • Although most houseplants are not poisonous, some are. To be on the safe side, keep houseplants out of reach of young children. Although much has bee made of problems with poinsettias, recent studies indicate it is not as highly toxic as was once believed. Although ingesting it may cause some stomach irritation and burning in the mouth, it's unlikely to be fatal.
  • Prepare for emergencies: Post the numbers of your regional poison control center and your doctor by the phone. Keep syrup of ipecac on hand. And never administer any antidote without first checking with your doctor or poison control center.

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