Hidden Household Poisoning Dangers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 300 children are sent to the emergency room, and two children die every day in the United States due to being poisoned. That’s a total of more than 109,500 poisoning accidents in children each year! While taking note of poisonous items in your home and how they are stored may seem like common sense to most, March is National Poison Prevention Month and can serve as a great time to refresh your memory on harmful substances and household items that pose a poisoning threat to your kiddo.

Medications

Properly storing, disposing, and administering medications is key to preventing drug poisoning or overdoses within children and adults. Medications should be kept in a safe and secure place, out of reach of curious hands and minds. To prevent a pile-up of expired medications, consider cleaning out your medicine cabinet every four months and locate your nearest drug disposal drop box to ensure all drugs are safely discarded.

Last but not least, always read and re-read the dispensing instructions on each of your child’s medications before administering to ensure that the proper dosage is delivered. If you have questions about how a medication should be administered, do not hesitate to reach out to your local pharmacist or child’s health care provider.

Button batteries

Calculators, watches, greeting cards, and more! That’s just a few of the places where you’ll find button batteries these days. While they might be quick to catch a child’s eye with their shiny and small appearance, these household staples pose a concerning poisoning risk for children. According to experts, once ingested, button batteries can burn from the inside out, causing death or become lodged in the GI tract and lead to a chemical leak that eats through the stomach and intestines. Not only should parents safely store their batteries out of harm’s way but they should also keep a close eye on the products that require these tools to operate within their home.

Alcohol-based products

Alcohol-based products can be found in every home. Whether it’s in the form of hand sanitizer, mouthwash, beauty products, bug sprays, or anything in between when these items are consumed, they pose a great deal of harm to all, but especially little ones. Common side effects of ingestion of these items include vomiting, unconsciousness, and difficulty breathing. While alcohol-based products are a necessity in many households, we encourage parents to practice precaution when storing the chemicals and educating their kiddos on the dangers of the items.

Household cleaning agents and detergents

We all know, love, and recognize the smell of a freshly cleaned home, but many of the products that help us achieve a clean humble abode, are not so friendly to children coming in close contact with them or ingesting them. It seems obvious that the answer to this poisoning threat is keeping household cleaning products such as Windex, Pledge, Clorox, and detergents, especially pods, in a safe and secure place. And while that certainly helps, we also encourage parents to consider switching to safer cleaning agent alternatives. Thanks to modern-day innovation, many companies offer chemical-free cleaning products and detergents that take the stress out of balancing everyday chores and keeping your child safe from a poisoning threat.

Plants

Bringing a bit of mother nature indoors in the form of house plants can be a great way to spruce up your space or bring a new sense of freshness to an area. Parents (of both little ones and fur babies) should beware, though, as some plants are toxic when ingested. A shortlist of common yet, dangerous household plants includes peace lilies, poinsettias, lilies, and aloe vera. To see a more comprehensive list of indoor plants to be wary of bringing into your home around your pets and children, click here.

With convenient locations across the southeast, Urgent Care for Children is equipped to treat non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries, including minor poisonings. If your child has collapsed or is having difficulty breathing following a poisoning emergency, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room. Don’t forget to keep the National Poison Control Center’s number (1-800-222-1222) stored in your phone as well, as they can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.