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Keep Kids Safe: Accidental Poisoning Tips

By Sandy Schroeder

If you have small kids roaming through your home you already know how quickly accidents can happen. One minute they are giggling, the next they may be screaming as you head off to ER.

When you are not looking, they may inspect any open containers, the dog's food dish, or a bright new bottle you thought they could not reach. But somehow they managed.

Little kids are often underfoot, and it only takes a second for them to get into trouble as they move from their toys to your toys.

How to Avoid ER

The memories linger on of our numerous ER trips. I suspect they had a bright red tag clipped to our file labeled, "Look Out for Them!" Our family of three busy little boys and two weary parents often rushed through their doors with broken bones, sprains, and various other accidents.

If you can relate, reminds us preventive steps preserve our sanity, and their lives. Prevention is especially crucial for the very young. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), says more than 300 American children are treated for accidental poisoning every day.

Here are some basic prevention steps.

Store Chemicals Safely

Place medicines, cleaners, pesticides and any other toxic products in a high cabinet with a childproof lock.

Use Original Containers

Keep all household products and other toxic items in their original containers. Never transfer them to other bottles, glasses or cups. In a child's eyes, they might look like food.

Never Mix Chemicals

Deadly new combinations can be created if you mix products. A mom in our area created a toxic gas when she mixed bleach and ammonia. She survived but it had lasting effects.

Teach Kids about Danger

Emphasize danger with a stern "No," when a young child reaches for a toxic product. Later you can use storybooks to talk about the danger.

Check Lids Twice

When handling cleaners, pesticides, or medicines, always make sure they are safely sealed.

Read Prescription Labels

Follow directions carefully when giving prescription medicines to children. Ask questions if instructions are not clear.

Never Say Medicines Are Candy

It might be tempting to say how great something might taste as you try to administer a medicine to a reluctant child. Later they may decide to try it on their own and feed it to the dog.

Safely Dispose of Old Prescriptions

Get rid of unused or expired medicines, vitamins and supplements. Mix with kitty litter or coffee grounds when you throw them out.

Put Chemicals Away Promptly

Never leave medicines, cleaning agents or other chemicals sitting out. Use them and lock them up. A ringing phone or unexpected visitor can interrupt and invite disaster.

If you have been to ER, too, and have no wish to return soon, take steps to prevent accidents wherever you can. 

Note: If an accidental poisoning does occur, call 911. If, however, the victim is awake and alert, call the Poison Control Centers national hotline phone number at 1-800-222-1222 or go to your local ER.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Caldwell, N.J.

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