Now that the holiday season is over, your thoughts may be turning to New Year’s resolutions. Many people promise themselves that they will lose those extra holiday pounds and live a healthier lifestyle in the coming year. We at the Indiana Poison Center would like to suggest that you add one more goal to your list - poison safety.
Many products found in an around your home can a danger if they are not used and stored correctly. The products we use every day become so familiar to us that we may not "see" them as potential poisons. Take a look around your home. If you look carefully, you’ll find products in every room that could be a danger if they are not used correctly.” It can't hurt to check your home and places you visit, especially if you have children, to identify potential poisoning risks.
Plants: Indoor and outdoor plants can be a both a poisoning and choking hazard for children and pets. Be sure to label all of your plants. If your child does eat part of a plant, the specialist at the Poison Center will need to know exactly what was eaten. It’s very difficult to identify a plant from a description over the phone.
Bathroom, Kitchen and Laundry Room: Many household poisonings happen while products are being used - not while they are in storage. Always keep possession of the product while working with it, or place it far out of the reach of children. If you need to answer the phone or door - take the product or the child along. Never leave the child alone with the product. Don’t leave vitamins, medications and products that contain alcohol, such as after-shave lotion, on open counter tops. Lock up daily pill containers so that children can’t reach tem. Buy household products and medicine in child resistant containers (remember, these are not childproof). Choose the smallest size container that works for you so you don’t have leftovers for children to get into. Safely discard old or outdated prescription and over the counter medicines as well as household and chemical products.
Garage or Basement: When you store pesticides, fertilizers, automotive products and paints, make sure they are safely locked away out of sight and out of reach of children. Buy products in child-resistant containers whenever possible. Take extra care to lock up products that come in brightly colored containers without child-resistant lids that may attract your child. Always store products in their original containers –don’t put them in soda bottles or food containers. Keep these products away from food and return them to a safe place immediately after use. Read labels before using household products and medicine and follow directions exactly. Don’t guess about amounts or how to use a product. If you’re not sure how to use a medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions. In cupboards and on shelves: Children are good at climbing and can often get to places that you thought were out of reach.
Bedroom: Don’t leave everyday products like perfume, make-up, nail polish and medications on dresser tops or bedside tables.
Purses and Tote Bags: Many medications look like candy to a small child. If you keep medicine and cosmetics in the same place as gum and candy, your child may not be able to tell the difference. Always keep purses and bags in a safe place out of the reach of children. Teach your child to respect medicine and to only take it when needed from a trusted adult. Never call medicine candy.
Children act quickly so be prepared - keep the Poison Center number on or near your telephones and give the number to family members, neighbors and babysitters. If you find your child with an open container, remember we are just a phone call away. Don’t wait to see if he or she gets sick - call the poison experts immediately at 1-800-222-1222.