Poisonings happen more often than car accidents or house fires. Each year, more than 1.2 million children ages 5 and younger are accidentally poisoned and 44 percent of these are from prescription drugs and other medicines. Of the oral prescription drugs ingested by children ages 4 and younger, over 20 percent belong to someone who does not live with the child — often a grandparent or great-grandparent.
Young children are particularly susceptible to poisoning because they:
- Do not understand the consequences of their behavior
- Do not always learn from their experiences
- Will imitate adults
In addition to storing all potentially poisonous items “up and away,” the pediatric experts at Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton encourage parents and caregivers to following these steps to avoid poisoning:
- Keep all harmful substances out of reach and sight.
- Put all substances away right after you use them. Never leave them out, even to answer phone or the door.
- Children can open safety locks. Keep poisons locked and stored in a high place.
- Do not store medication in your purse or handbag.
- Do not store poisons near food. Poisons may be mistaken for food.
- Do not keep medications on bedside tables.
- Read labels to find out what can be poisonous. Keep those things separate from toothpaste, soap and other things you use every day.
- Buy child-resistant packages when available. Keep products in their original packages to avoid confusion.
- Never leave medicines or potentially poisonous household products unattended while you are using them.
Keep the toll-free nationwide poison control center number (1-800-222-1222) and local emergency numbers near every telephone.
If you suspect poisoning and a child is choking, collapses, can’t breathe or is having a seizure, call 911. Otherwise, take the product to the phone and call the poison control hotline.