Statistics show that over 300 children in the United States are treated everyday in an emergency department from being poisoned. The CDC reports that at least two children die daily as a result of exposure to poisons. These numbers are dramatic, so it is necessary to check your home and property for potential hazards.
There are many items in every room of your home that can be poisonous, especially to children. Many of us use these common household items multiple times a day and do not think twice about their hazardous effects; however, it is important to recognize that these products are toxic and can result in serious injury or death.
A child can become ill in several different ways after being exposed to household poisons. If a child gets a product on their skin or eyes, burning, redness, or itching could occur. Poisons with a strong smell can produce a headache, cause drowsiness, nausea, or loss of consciousness. Poisons that are consumed can cause serious damage to the esophagus and internal organs.
Types of Common Household Poisons
Dry cleaning liquids
Furniture polish and creams
Laundry detergents (liquid and powdered)
Bedroom and Bathroom
All drugs and medicines
Analgesics (pain killer)
Anticonvulsants (antiseizure drug)
Antihistamines (allergy medicine)
Cough syrups and lozenges
Lotions and creams
Toilet bowl cleaner
Cosmetics and Toiletries
Cologne and perfumes
Hair products (hair spray, dyes, gels, mousse, etc.)
Plants (There are thousands of poisonous plants. Contact Poison Control if you suspect a wild flower, seed, bulb, berry, mushroom, or wood has been ingested.)
There are several plants that homeowners tend to have in their household unaware that they are poisonous and have harmful effects. If you have children, refrain from having the following house plants:
- Elephant Ear
- Rosary Pea
- Castor Bean
Garage and Basement
Automotive products (waxes, engine fluids, windshield washer fluid, motor oil)
Petroleum products (kerosene, lighter fluid)
Adhesive and glues
Camping or candle oils
Carbon monoxide (vehicle exhaust, heaters, grills)
Cigarettes and tobacco
Liquor and alcoholic beverages
Carpet and upholstery cleaners
Chlorine and other pool chemicals
Protect Yourself and Your Children
- Keep poisons in their original bottle or make sure other bottles are properly labeled. If you choose to transfer your products into a different container or spray bottle, make a label for the bottle so other members of your household know what is in the bottle. Never use food containers for storage.
- Never mix household products together. For example, combining bleach and ammonia can create toxic fumes.
- Wear protective clothing. Use gloves, protective eyewear, and clothing that covers your skin when using chemicals.
- Notify Poison Control for any incidents of accidental poisoning. Stay calm and act fast. Call Poison Control immediately if your child has ingested a poison. If you are unsure if your child has ingested a poison, but you suspect it, it is better to report it to be on the safe side.
Program the Poison Control phone number in your cell phone: 1-800-222-1222.
- Keep the above listed poisons out of reach of children. Store poisonous products up high where children cant access them or in locked cabinets.
- Disinfect and decontaminate. Wash your hands after handling cleaning products and toxic chemicals before holding or touching your children.
- Educate children. Teach children that even though some products may smell good or be a pretty color, or look like candy, doesnt mean they are safe.
Sources: Poison Safety, Tips to Prevent Poisonings, How to Properly Dispose of Medication, Child Poisoning Facts and Statistics, Hidden Dangers in the Home, Common Poisonous Plants and Plant Parts, Poison Statistics, Gasoline and Toddlers: Summer Risk
Photo Credits: Sasha Staton, Pixabay