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There are a few simple things you can do to prevent your child from drinking or swallowing a poison:
According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), poisons can be:
- cleaning products (such as drain or oven cleaners, detergents, furniture polish and soaps)
- house plants
- art supplies
- alcohol or any product that contains alcohol (such as mouthwash)
- automotive supplies (such as antifreeze, windshield washing fluid and gasoline)
- household products (such as pain thinners and kerosene).
- Keep all medicines (including aspirin, herbals and vitamins) high on a closet shelf or locked in a cabinet.
- Never put your medicines in other containers. Keep the childproof caps on tight at all times.
- Keep all medicines that need to be refrigerated on the top shelf in the back.
- Keep all household cleaning products locked in a cabinet or out of reach.
- Keep all paint thinners, lawn products and fertilizers, gasoline or insect poisons away from your child. Keep them in a locked area or on a top shelf in a garage or shed.
- Keep all deodorants, perfumes, colognes, mouthwashes, make-up or other personal items that contain alcohol in a locked medicine cabinet or on a high shelf in a closet.
- Keep alcoholic beverages high on a shelf or locked in a cabinet.
- Keep plants that have poisonous leaves out of reach of your child.
Never put medicines, poisons, cleaners or other dangerous household materials in different containers.
- When you replace or throw away an outdated or used container, make sure the old one is wrapped securely in the garbage. Teach your child to stay away from the garbage.
- Make sure to fully close any container that has a prescription or over-the-counter medicine or cleaning product. "Child-resistant" does not mean "child-proof." Your young child could open poison-prevention packages. Keeping them properly closed and stored may help prevent an accident.
- Keep all medicines, perfumes, poisons, detergents and other harmful products out of reach of your baby or toddler. Put Mr. Yuk stickers on all cleaning products and poisons. Teach your child that Mr. Yuk means "no." (To get Mr. Yuk stickers, call your poison control center.)
- Never tell your child that medicine tastes like candy.
- Make sure visitors to your house keep any medicine out of reach of our child.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors near the bedrooms in your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that can cause death. A furnace that is not working well can release carbon monoxide.
- Teach your child the dangers of poisons.
- Keep kitty litter or other pet products out of your child's reach.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you throw out any syrup of ipecac you have. It is safe to flush down the toilet. There is no evidence that vomiting helps when children eat or drink something poisonous.
Whom to call in case of accidental poisoning
If your child gets into any of these or other poisonous items, call the Minnesota Poison Control System at 1-800-222-1222.
For more information, visit the Minnesota Poison Control System at www.mnpoison.org.
If you think your child has inhaled, eaten or swallowed a poison, the American Association of Poison Control Centers advises that when you call, please remain calm and give:
- the name of what your child drank or swallowed
- how much your child ate or drank
- the time of the poisoning
- your name and phone number
- your child's age
- your child's weight.
How to get your child to take medicine
Never tell your child that her medicine tastes like candy or tastes yummy. Your child will think all medicine is like candy.
Did you know?
The main cause of children's deaths from poisoning is vitamin pills with iron. A child can die after swallowing as few as five vitamin pills with iron.
If he can understand, tell him how important it is to take the medicine so his body feels better. Be sure to give over-the-counter medicines when absolutely necessary and follow the package directions. Always keep medicine containers out of your child's sight.
Try not to take medicine in front of your child
If you take vitamins, prescription medicines or over-the-counter medicines, do not take them in front of your child. If you do, make sure to secure the bottles out of her reach. Your child may want to take a pill — just like you.
If you give your child vitamins, be sure to follow the exact dosage. Giving her extra vitamins (especially iron) can be dangerous.