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Protect children by storing poisons safely

POSTED March 17, 2017 11:52 a.m.

Is your house childproofed? We have a 2-year old grandson who is quick and curious so that means we need to childproof certain areas of our home. Children should be curious, but curiosity can turn dangerous if kids are getting under the kitchen sink or into the medicine cabinet where hazardous chemicals and adult medicines are kept. In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, observed each year during the third full week of March, I want to use my column space today to remind you about storing hazardous materials out of a child’s reach.
More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than 6 years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.
National Poison Prevention Week is a week nationally designated by Congress since 1961 to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. Child-resistant packaging is credited with saving hundreds of children’s lives since its introduction in the 1970s. Still, there is no substitute for active supervision and childproofing.
If a product label says “keep out of reach of children,” there is a reason. Keep those dangerous things up high and in a locked cabinet. Almost half of poison exposures for children under the age of 5 are caused by medicine. Children have faster metabolisms than adults and anything they ingest will be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly.
Safe Kids USA offers these tips regarding poison prevention:
• Lock up potential poisons out of sight and reach of kids. This includes makeup, medicine, cleaning products, pesticides, art supplies, and beer, wine and liquor.
• Never leave kids alone with an open container of something you would not want them to ingest. A child can be poisoned in a matter of seconds.
• Do not refer to medicine or vitamins as candy and do not involve children as helpers with your medication.
• Choose medicines and products that have child-resistant caps. When you are giving medicine to your children, follow dosage directions carefully.
• Keep products in their original containers. Some concentrated citrus cleaners look like orange Kool-Aid when diluted. This can be very dangerous if placed in an unmarked spray bottle. Read labels to learn if a product is poisonous and for the first aid information.
• Know which plants in and around your home can be poisonous.
• Discuss these precautions with grandparents and caregivers. They may have medications that can be very dangerous to children and their homes might not be as well childproofed as yours.
A final reminder for parents is to learn the toll-free poison control center number, 800-222-1222. Keep it near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone. This number connects you to your local poison control center from anywhere in the United States.

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or dkrug@ksu.edu.

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