Kids will eat and drink the darndest things, but too frequently do so when they are not supposed to. Children may fuss over taking cold medicine, but later decide to help themselves to a good part of the bottle. Or they might decide to have minty fresh breath and drink an entire bottle of mouthwash! In large amounts, both of these products are common household poisons and even small amounts of many other common items found in cupboards, cabinets, closets and shelves can be even more toxic.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission unintentional pediatric poisonings are shockingly common, averaging 80,800 per year in poisoning and 3,700 in chemical burns per year. To keep kids safe, here’s a list of the most dangerous household poisons to watch out for, along with the steps to take to keep kids safe.
What Are the Most Dangerous Household Poisons
From pesticides to pills to plants, Poison Control.org has identified the following as the most hazardous household poisons that kids too often get into.
- Medicines – In the wrong amount or for the wrong person, they can be poisonous.
- Carbon monoxide – From a malfunctioning furnace, exhaust fumes from cars or equipment. It is called the silent killer.
- Button batteries – If swallowed, they can get lodged in the esophagus, and cause burning which can extend to other parts of the body.
- Iron Pills – If a child takes an adult dose of iron, it can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea.
- Cleaning products – All kinds of cleaning products can cause chemical burns as well as toxicity.
- Nail glue remover and nail primer – Chemical burns are caused.
- Hydrocarbons – This includes gasoline, kerosene, lamp oil, motor oil, lighter fluid, furniture polish, paint thinner, antifreeze, including windshield washers. These are often choked on, causing the fumes to go into the lungs, which can shut down breathing. This is the most common poison category to cause death.
- Pesticides – They can affect the nervous system and breathing. If your home is treated for pests make sure to know the safety precautions for use.
- Wild Mushrooms – These will often pop up after periods of a lot of rain and heat. These look very tempting to children. Survey the area before allowing children to play.
- Drain Cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners – This will cause burns to the mouth, throat, and stomach. It must be diluted in their system immediately.
- Topical Anesthetics – These can cause convulsions or a condition that keeps the blood from carrying oxygen.
- Plants – Household plants such as philodendron are toxic, and many holiday plants can also be hazardous.
Baby-proofing For Poisons
- Remove detergents, cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners from storage in lower cabinets, and place in upper cabinets.
- Use a lock deterrent for all cabinets. Lower as well as upper cabinets should have this on them. Children have amazing climbing abilities, sometimes scaling the lower cabinets to reach the higher ones, or using a chair as a climbing help.
- Make sure prescriptions as well as over the counter medications are kept out of reach of curious little ones who may want to imitate you.
- Be especially aware of detergents, especially laundry pods for the dishwasher or laundry. Bleach and stain removers are also dangerous. Use the child-resistant features, but store in an inaccessible place.
- Dispose of expired medicines.
- Keep all products in original containers so it is less easily mistaken for something else.
- Be vigilant about the use of batteries around small children. The button type battery can be easily swallowed.
- Purses or bags can contain dangerous things for a child to ingest. Keep them out of sight and reach of a child. This is also something that should be watched when someone is visiting your home.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms.
What to Do
Even though you have taken every precaution possible because children are very curious and creative, they may inadvertently get into something that is poisonous. With quick action, most cases end as a “cautionary tale”, possibly with a trip to the emergency room, but a lesson learned. The embarrassment that it happened is no reason to delay seeking help. Taking quick action is the most crucial element.
- Call 911
- While you are waiting, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 to immediately speak to an expert for advice.
Put the number for poison control in your phone. Also, there is an app available for your smartphone in whatever operating system you use.