Accidental poisonings are not something we want to think about, but they do happen. It’s best to be prepared so you can try to prevent a poisoning before it happens. And with Poison Prevention Week being this month, now is a good time to discuss what parents can do to help keep poisons away from their children.
There are about 2 million poisonings reported every year in America. Most of these could have been prevented if the proper precautions had been taken.
Common Poisons Found in the Home
Some common things that are often overlooked but can be poisonous to children include household cleaners, prescription medications, or over-the-counter drugs. You should also be aware of any poisonous plants you have in your yard or home that need to be put out of reach of your children.
Proper storage of these products is key in preventing poisonings. When it comes to storing possibly poisonous substances, keep these things in mind:
- Keep medications in a high place out of a child’s reach.
- Don’t leave medications or household chemicals out where a child can easily get to them
- Be aware of what substances your guests bring into your home.
- Make sure the child safety cap is secure on medications and cleaners.
- If you get interrupted while taking your medication or cleaning, take your child with you or put the items away.
Disposal of Medications
Many people do not know how to properly dispose of unused or outdated medications. To dispose of your medications properly, you should:
- Check the label for disposal instructions. If they are listed, follow them.
- There are programs that will dispose of your unused medication for you. Contact your local police to see if there is a medication take-back program in your area.
- Contact the DEA at 1-800-882-9539 to see if there is an authorized collector in your area.
If you must dispose of medications at home, mix the medication with another disagreeable substance to help deter anyone from taking the medication out of the trash, then seal the mixture in a bag, place it in the trash, and take the trash out immediately.
If your child ever ingests something you think is poisonous, contact the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222, at any time or day of the week. They can help you identify if what your child ingested was poisonous, and if it was, what you should do and if medical action should be taken.