Children under the age of six account for almost half of all instances of poisoning in the United States each year, with infants and toddlers between age one and two at the highest risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 90 percent of poisonings occur in the home.
Accidents may not always be preventable, but taking a few precautions can help to safeguard your home and reduce the risk of accidental poisoning. Physicians Urgent Care offers these tips on how you can prevent poison-related accidents in your home:
- Have a Plan — The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends programming the Poison Help number, (800) 222-1222, into your cell phone and keeping it handy so that it is readily available in the event of an emergency.
- Carefully Read Food, Medicine and Household Product Labels — Even items packaged and branded as “all natural” can contain ingredients that may be harmful if ingested or trigger a potentially serious or fatal allergic reaction. Taking a little time to read the entire list of ingredients and handling instructions for food, cleaning products, and prescription and over the counter medications can prevent accidental exposure.
- Practice Safe Storage — Keep all cleaning, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and electronic products safely stored out of reach and locked if there are children under the age of six in the home.
- Install Alarms — Make sure your home is equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and frequently check the batteries (set a calendar reminder) to ensure the alarms are active.
- Practice Appliance Safety — If you have older appliances, like refrigerators, air conditioners and kitchen stoves, have them serviced by a professional to ensure that they meet all current safety standards and regulations.
- Ventilate — Open windows and make sure that clean air is circulating in the home when cleaning with products that contain chemicals like ammonia and bleach, and properly dispose of all used paper towels, rags and cleaning applicators by sealing them off and throwing them out immediately so that they are out of your child’s reach.
- Properly Dispose of Expired Medications
- Know Your Family’s Allergy Status — Consult with your pediatrician and family doctor about potential allergies to food or medication
What to Do in a Poison Emergency
If you suspect your child or a member of your family has been exposed to a poisonous substance, remain calm and call 911 if they have collapsed or stopped breathing. If they are alert, contact the Poison Control Center.
At Physicians Urgent Care we offer emergency treatment to walk-in patients, without traditional emergency room wait times. Contact us in Franklin, TN (615) 472-1550 or Brentwood, TN (615) 457-3864.