How safe is your home? This week is Poison Prevention Week and an important opportunity to ensure that your little ones are safe from potentially harmful substances around your house. While you may have already locked up your cleaners, chemicals, and medications, here are five that you may have forgotten to get out of reach.
In 2014, the U.S. Poison Control centers received more than 2.5 million calls for poison exposures with the highest incidence occurring for children age 1-2 years old. In fact, children younger than 6 years make up nearly half of all poison exposures (48%).
While you hopefully already have any cleaning supplies, medicines and chemicals stored up and locked away from your children, here are 5 other surprising things you should keep out of reach.
1. Button batteries.
These little round batteries can be found throughout your home from remotes and toys to flameless candles, watches and other electronics. "When swallowed, these coin-shaped batteries can get stuck in the throat," explains child health and safety expert Debra Holtzman, J.D., M.A.. "The saliva triggers an electric current which causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours." To keep kids safe, Holtzman recommends using strong tape to keep battery compartments closed and storing these objects out of the reach of small children.
2. Skincare and cosmetic products.
While you may know to keep cleaners and chemicals out of reach of your child, the largest number of poison exposures for kids under 6 is actually cosmetics and personal care products, according to the U.S. Poison Control. While we love our beauty products here are Momtrends, be sure to keep those anti-aging serums and firming lotions out of the reach of your little ones.
3. Laundry detergent pods.
Popular for washing machines, the brightly colored, squishy detergent packets can sure look enticing to little hands and mouths. Holtzman says that these pods are especially dangerous since the detergent is concentrated. "It can take just a few seconds for a child to swallow the toxic chemicals they contain, or get the chemicals in their eyes. Last year, 11,700 children younger than 5 years old were exposed to the caustic detergent within the pods." Holtzman doesn't recommend using laundry detergent pods at all if you have children younger than six, but if you do, take precautions to keep them completely locked up high out of reach and out of sight and do not let your child handle them.
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4. Certain house plants.
Do you have dieffenbachia and philodendron in your house? Dieffenbachia, often called Dumb Cane or Leopard Lily, and philodendron plants are very common in households, but can be dangerous to children, says Holtzman. "These common houseplants contain oxalates, microscopic crystals that get released into the mouth when the plant is chewed, causing extreme pain and inflammation." Parents should purchase only nontoxic plants when they have children under the age of six and pets.
5. Liquid nicotine.
With the rise of e-cig use, the prevalence of liquid nicotine is now a concern in many homes. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, slightly more than half of all reported exposures to e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine occurred in young children under the age of 6 in 2014. And as of the end of January 2016, there had already been 169 e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine reported exposures across all age groups. The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following safety steps:
- Protect your skin when handling the products.
- Always keep e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children.
- Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.
- If you think someone has been exposed to an e-cigarette or liquid nicotine, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
We hope you never need it, but whether your children are 12 months old or 12 years old, keep the poison control center number programmed into your home phone and cell phones as well as being prominently displayed in an information area, recommends the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The Poison Help line is not just for emergencies either. You can call with questions about how to take or give medicine, concerns about plants, chemicals, carbon monoxide, bites, stings and more. However, if you are in a poison emergency and your child is collapsed or not breathing, call 911 first.
Take a moment to walk through your house and see what potential hazards you can move out of reach of your little ones. A few moments of your time now can prevent a much more serious threat later on.
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