Childproof to Prevent Poisonings
You know to cover electrical outlets so children don’t get shocked, but have you considered poisonous household substances? Be sure to childproof your home to protect your children from potential poisons. In the United States, the American Association of Poison Control Centers can be reached at a universal phone number (800.222.1222), which reroutes to your local poison control center.
Childproof the Kitchen
We often store kitchen cleaning products, like countertop cleaners and dishwashing detergent, underneath the kitchen sink. This poses a danger since these cabinets are easily accessible to children. Alcohol is also poisonous to children; the decorative labels on these bottles may appeal to little ones, enticing them to taste it. Due to its known effects and the small body size of young children, ingesting alcohol can be harmful.
To keep children away from toxic substances, consider installing childproof latches or locks on cabinets and drawers or storing them out of reach. Sliding cabinet locks are also an option if you prefer simplified installation. Additionally, keep matches and lighters away from children; the liquid inside lighters presents poison and fire hazards.
Childproof the Bathroom
As with kitchen cleaners, people often keep bathroom cleaning products underneath the sink. These and medicine cabinets can be reached by young children. Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, and vitamins can pose a health risk to children. If you drop any tablets, be sure to find them and throw them away immediately. A stray pill could seriously harm a child; not only is it a danger in itself, but it could interact with other medications the child may be taking.
In addition to installing cabinet locks on the cabinets beneath the sink to keep children away from cleaning chemicals, be cognizant of over-the-counter and prescription medication storage. About 60,000 children per year are accidentally poisoned by medications, so only store them in child-resistant packaging. Keep in mind that being child-resistant does not necessarily mean they’re child-proof, so always keep them out of reach.
Childproof Throughout the House
Crawling through your house is an easy way to find hazards you may not notice otherwise. Laundry detergent pods have grown in popularity over the past few years, but have remained a hazard to children. Just handling a detergent pod can be harmful to children because they frequently put their hands in their mouths.
From 2013 to 2014, over 62,000 calls were made regarding poisonings from dishwasher or detergent pods. Watch for toys and remotes that contain button batteries; these can injure a child if swallowed.
Keep detergent pods up high, such as above the washer and dryer or in a locked cabinet. Children exposed to detergent pods are four times more likely to be admitted to the hospital than children exposed to liquid or powder detergents. Opting for an alternative detergent may be a good idea if you frequently have small children in your home.
When cleaning, be sure to take the cleaning products with you out of the room if you leave to answer the door or a phone call; never leave them unattended and accessible. All batteries you purchase should be in child-safe packaging, and extra batteries should be stored out of children’s reach.
If you’re unsure whether a substance accessible to your child is poisonous, keep it hidden. If you think your child may have eaten something unknown or toxic, call poison control immediately at 800.222.1222. CHI St. Luke’s Health emergency departments are open 24/7 for all medical emergencies.