Childhood poisoning can range from a minor inconvenience to a potentially deadly situation. Fortunately, there are steps that parents and health care professionals can take to prevent poisoning incidents in children, as well as to treat them in the event one does occur. Here are some essential tips for both parents and health care professionals to help keep children safe from the dangers of accidental poison ingestion.
Create a Safe Environment
Creating a safe environment in the home is one of the most important steps in preventing and treating childhood poisoning. Make sure all containers with potentially toxic substances, such as cleaning products, medicines, and chemicals, are stored in a secure cabinet, out of reach of children. Locks on cabinets and drawers can also help prevent little hands from accessing hazardous items. Keep all medications, including herbal and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, as well as household products, in their original, labeled containers.
Keep a Poison Control Hotline Number Handy
It is essential for parents to keep a copy of the number for the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) on hand, as well as near any phones in the house. This number is a 24-hour hotline staffed by medical professionals that can provide emergency advice, as well as provide information on both preventing poisoning incidents and treating them when they do occur.
Educate Your Child
It is also important to teach your child some basic safety rules, such as never eating or drinking anything without adult permission. Educate your child about the different types of poison and the risks associated with them. Talk to them about not touching or tasting any products that do not have a child-friendly label on them, and remind them to always check with an adult first before consuming anything.
Be Prepared at All Times
It is essential to always be prepared for a potential poisoning incident. Have a first-aid kit available with a sterile eye cup for a potential eye-washing solution for any orally ingested substances. Make sure you have an activated charcoal solution on hand, as this is the best choice for preventing the absorption of toxic substances that were ingested orally.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If your child does accidentally ingest a poisonous substance, it is essential that you seek immediate medical attention. Do not hesitate to call 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency room, as the sooner treatment is administered, the more likely it is to be successful.
These tips can help keep your child safe from the dangers of childhood poisoning. By following these steps, parents and health care professionals can help to reduce the risks associated with accidental poison ingestion and provide the best care possible if a poisoning incident does occur.