The greatest danger period for children is between one and three years old. Children of that age will eat anything. Taste is no deterrent to a young child.
Iron tablets, spirits and even aspirins can seriously threaten your child’s life. Learn to minimize the dangers.
Here are 8 ways to help eliminate the danger of poisoning:
- Know what is in your medicine cupboard and keep it tidy. Don’t hang on to the last few tablets in case you need them later, you probably won’t remember why they were prescribed, anyway.
- Keep all medicine and poisons in a cupboard with a child-proof lock. Putting them in a high cupboard isn’t adequate. Young children are natural climbers and explorers.
- Know what is in a product and make a habit of asking the pharmacist, “Is this dangerous for me, my child or pet?” Find out if a drug is dangerous in particular circumstances, for example, if taken with alcohol or in pregnancy.
- Keep the product in its original container with its label intact. Accidents can happen when poisons are transferred into glasses or soft-drink bottles that a child is familiar with.
- Insist that your medicines come in child-proof containers.
- Don’t expect other people to be as orderly as you. Keep a careful check on your children when visiting friends and relatives, particularly the elderly, whose houses are frequently not geared to young children.
- Take extra care in different or unusual circumstances such as moving house, when things are left lying around.
- Put poisons away after use. Don’t leave turps or cleaning fluid around.
The following are potentially dangerous substances found in the home:
- Kitchen: drain and oven cleaners, insect repellents, fly sprays, detergents, dish washing machine products, disinfectants, room deodorizers.
- Laundry: bleaches, cleansers, pre-wash sprays, soap powders.
- Bathroom: lavatory cleansers and deodorizer blocks, medicines, hair products, antiseptics, suntan preparations.
- Bedroom: cosmetics, medicines, sleeping pills.
- Garden shed: fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, snail killer pellets, plant foods.
- Garage: petrol, oil, kerosene, brake and battery fluids.
- Workshop: paints, strippers, solvents, adhesives, soldering flux.
- Garden: castor oil plants, oleander, angels trumpets, mushrooms and toadstools.
Use the following remedies with caution:
- For swallowed poison, give water immediately. If poison is on the skin, wash the area well with soap and water. If in the eyes, hold the lids apart and flush the eye copiously with water, making sure you wash under the eyelids.
- If poison is inhaled, go straight out to fresh air and breathe deeply. If the patient is overcome and is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation immediately.
- With cases involving turpentine, petrol or methylated spirits, NEVER induce vomiting, but give milk to drink.