Poison and Children

By Ben Waterworth

Although we know that we should keep poison items away from our children at all times, unfortunately sometimes there is no preventing our children from getting access to poisonous material that can seriously harm them or potentially even kill them. Over 850 children are admitted to hospital as a direct cause of poisoning in Queensland alone and it’s with statistics like this that it is more important than ever to ensure that all poisons are correctly locked away and that your children can’t access them. This article hopes to provide you with some advice to follow when it comes to poison prevention in your home around your children.
IMG_2800_01
Types of poisons
The top 5 types of poisoning in the home occurred from the following products:

  • Pharmaceuticals for home use such as Panadol and other medicines
  • Household products such as cleaning products
  • Insects and insect bites from spiders and ants
  • Products used for personal hygiene and cosmetics such as deodorant and make up
  • Pesticides used to kill weeds and insects

90% of all poisonings occur in the home so you should always make sure the above products are locked away and secure so that your children in no way can access them.

Why do these effect children?
As your child develops they will become extremely curious about many things and they will easily gain new abilities that will allow them to walk, climb and reach for new things that they have an interest in. They will also begin to constantly place objects in their mouth as they get a taste for certain items to see what they really are. This is obviously a danger if your child grabs something that is poisonous and places it straight in their mouth as this could lead to their death if not correctly observed.

When will child poisoning happen?
It can happen at any time, there is never a specific time when it will happen. The most common time is when you turn your back and your child gets a little adventurous and before you know it your child has found something that they weren’t meant too and places it straight into their mouth. It might happen too when visitors come over and have medication with them in their handbag or backpack that your child will discover when having a snoop. It’s always important therefore to always closely monitor your child at all possible times!

How can I prevent my child from becoming poisoned?
By following a few simple steps you can easily prevent your child from becoming poisoned:

  • Always have poisonous products locked away in a cupboard that is out of reach of your child and that they can’t climb up and undo. This is really the most important fact and the best way to prevent poisonings from occurring
  • Make sure all medical products that can cause harm to your child are also stored away safely and can’t be gained or grabbed by your children or even unlocked if they are locked away in a cupboard somewhere
  • Make sure all cupboards have child restraints and locks on them. You can get these restraints and locks from most hardware stores and shops that specialise in child safety
  • Never put poisons near food and if you have childhood medicine that has to keep refrigerated then place it in a lockable box that your child won’t be able to open under any circumstance
  • If you are using a product or have just purchased one that is poisonous then return it to the locked area straight away so that you don’t just leave it in an area you can forget about it or where your child can grab at it if left unattended. If somebody comes to the door whilst using the product, take it with you so your child can’t get it
  • Make sure you get all products that are of danger in child proof containers so that if your child does get a hold of it they won’t be able to open it to access it’s contents
  • Dispose of old medicines or poisons out of the way from your general rubbish, and never refer to your medicine as ‘lollies’ as this may confuse your child
  • If your guests have handbags with their medicine in it make sure they place it in an area your child can’t get to
  • Double check plants in your house and garden to ensure they aren’t poisonous and harmful to your children. If you are unsure how to check then contact your local gardener for more advice

If the worst happens
The best advice in an emergency is to calmly contact the poisons information centre with whatever your child swallowed handy so they can give you all the relevant advice as to what to do