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Published on May 01, 2015

Three Poisons Hidden at Home

May 1, 2015

baby pulling items out of cabinetWiping down countertops with a household cleanser and taking prescription medications are normal tasks for adults. However, both actions involve powerful substances that could poison a child.

According to the latest findings from the National Capital Poison Center, 44 percent of poisoning incidents involved children younger than six. The most common substances involved were:

  1. Cosmetics and personal care items, such as body wash. These items often come in pretty or colorful packaging, making them appealing to children.
  2. Medications, ranging from prescription pain relievers to over-the-counter vitamins and antihistamines. To a child, colorful pills may look like candy or gum.

  3. Household cleaners. With their floral or fruit fragrances and brightly colored packaging, these liquids can be mistaken for juice or edible treats.

Safe Storage 101

Children are naturally curious, so they often investigate substances they shouldn’t touch. Some want to mimic adult behaviors such as taking a medication.

To reduce the risk of a child being poisoned:

  • Lock it up. Designate one cabinet in the garage for storing household cleaners and other toxic products. Lock the cabinet doors after each use to keep kids and pets from getting inside.
  • Put it out of reach. Place all medications, perfumes and personal products like colorful gel body wash on a high shelf in the bathroom. Be sure to replace the product’s cap tightly after each use.
  • Get rid of it. When you’re finished with them, properly dispose of potentially toxic items and their containers. Follow instructions found on household cleaner labels. Never dispose of any type of medication down a drain or toilet or by throwing it in the trash. Check your local communities for prescription drug take back events.

Signs That Something is Wrong

Indications of poisoning can vary, depending on the type of substance ingested. Seek immediate medical assistance if someone exhibits any of the following physical symptoms:

  • Decreased breathing or heart rate
  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Drooling
  • Increased breathing or heart rate

Bring the product or packaging of the substance consumed with you so medical staff can better assess the situation and respond more effectively.

If you think someone has been poisoned, call 911 or the National Poison Control Center at 800.222.1222.

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