While the risk does decrease, parents of school-aged children still have to be aware of the potential to be poisoned. Keep in mind, anyone can be poisoned and most poisonings are unintentional and preventable.
Risk Factors associated with school-aged children
- Independence: As children get older, they become more independent. They feel they can do more on their own, which can lead to medicine mishaps.
- Spending time alone: As children get older, there is less adult supervision. This leaves time for the children to experiment with medicines and household products.
- Sense of infallibility: Children this age are ready to grab the bull by the horns. Their enhanced sense of independence leads them to believe they can do many more things without consequence, thus avoiding harm.
- Inability to associate cause and effect: Children do not think bad things will happen to them. They think bad things only happen to "someone else." They don't realize that if they make bad choices, they can become that "someone else."
- Dares/peer pressure: Most children are faced with a dare from a friend or classmate at some time or another. Many dares are harmless; others can have severe consequences. Children will often dare each other to eat berries in the yard or taste household cleaners.
- Substance abuse: Studies show that children are experimenting with drugs, alcohol, tobacco and household products at a younger age.
- Teach children about the safe use of household products and medication, with emphasis on having adult supervision where appropriate.
- Children under the age of 12 should not take medicine on their own. An adult should supervise a child each time they take a medicine, even if it is something they take every day. Stress the importance of asking an adult before taking a medicine or using a household product.
- Talk honestly about the dangers of misusing household products and medicines.
- Begin having talks about the consequences of dares and negative peer pressure.