More than two million Americans are poisoned every year. Most of those are children under the age of 6 and most of the time it happens at home. The week of March 16th is designated as National Poison Prevention Week so we wanted to get expert advice on how to make sure an accidental poisoning doesn't happen on your watch.
Most of us keep our cleaning supplies under the sink. If you have young kids at home, that's only good if you have a lock and latch on the door.
Doniese Wilcox is the Avera Children's Certified Family Life Educator. She says, "Keep the spray bottle nozzle in the off position all the time. That's just one more step the child might not be able to figure out if they get in there. I always say if the products are really dangerous, keep them high and locked that way you have two steps to prevent kids from getting in to them."
Wilcox says parents have to constantly keep watch because some kids are really good at figuring out how to get into things.
She says, "Surprisingly, the accidental poisonings usually happen when the usual routine has been interrupted. Grandma and Grandpa are visiting, or you are staying in a hotel, or it's Christmas and you have lots of company. You know, that kind of thing and everyone's vigilance is a little bit down."
Wilcox says don't store hazardous wastes in familiar containers. If you store old motor oil in a pop bottle it's bad because to a child it will look like pop. Even if you label it it's bad because children can't read. Windshield washer fluid looks like blue kool-aid so keep that away from where children can get to it.
Wilcox says, "As far as medicine goes, don't tell kids medicine is like candy and will make you big and strong. Keep it locked away. When you give medicine to your child take the medicine to them rather than where it's kept that way they won't be curious to get in to it."
Wilcox also warns to be careful with vitamins. Although some look and taste like candy, kids can overdose on them, especially the ones chalked full of iron.
She also says know the name of every plant you have in the house and shrubs in your yard. Call your county extension educator if you have questions. That way you will know if they are poisonous and if the child ingests it you will be able to tell the doctor what they got into.
If you suspect your child was poisoned call the Regional Poison Control Center immediately 1-800-222-1222.
In some cases if you try to make them throw up what they swallowed, it could make it worse, so it's best to call first.