Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Lynn
Imagine an uneventful day turning suddenly momentous as a child unexpectedly vomits after playing, and most probably ingesting, some household disinfectants or medicines. This scenario happens with high frequency based on records of poison control centers. In the US, these centers get over 3.6 million calls a year for potential exposures to dangerous chemicals. That is roughly three to four calls every eight seconds. Take note that about 80 percent of these poison exposures involve young kids aged one to four.
What is a poison?
A poison is any product or substance that, when introduced into the system of a living thing, like humans and pets, can cause injuries, harm or even death. In the context of biology, these refer to substances that can cause disturbances to the metabolic or physiological processes of the organisms, and/or their molecular reactions when a certain quantity is absorbed into their system.
Living in a chemical-laden home
Home is supposed to be haven for you and your children. It is supposed to be a safe environment, yet most of these poison exposures happen right at home. Do you know what chemicals are in your home that you have come to use through the years, hardly noticing that these are potential sources of risks? Here is a list of the most common intoxicating substances in homes:
Consciously preventing poisoning: What you can do
The good news is you can prevent poisoning, but only if you and other parents/caregivers will consciously make an effort to secure those toxic chemicals. It doesn't take much to prevent poisoning accidents:
- 1Keep out of reach of children.This is read too often, to the extent of ignoring it. It is a reminder for your kids' safety and must not therefore be taken for granted. Follow the warning: Keep out of reach of children. How do you do that? Put all this stuff in a locked cabinet inaccessible to kids and pets.
- 2Use products properly.With every product you buy, especially the poisonous ones, have literature and instructions that serve to guide users. It is important to read these labels first before use. Follow the directions to the letter.
- 3Choose products wisely.Buy those products that have child-resistant packaging or those that passed certain standards such as the "design for the environment (DFE)" label on those products you buy.
- 4Keep the products in their original containers.Do not transfer toxic substances or drugs in other containers, especially food or drink containers/bottles. This can increase the likelihood of a poison accident.
- 5Clear out stuff before using any chemical.Before cleaning with disinfectants and cleaners, or painting, make sure to remove children and their toys, bottles and pacifiers. Do not let the kids into the room until it is already safe.
- 6Install a working carbon monoxide or fume detector.This is particularly important when you have a garage that is connected to the house.
- 7Mixing chemical products is a big no-no.There are certain chemicals that can explode or result to a poisonous blend. An example is mixing bleach and ammonia. So, don't "play scientist" and don't try to mix powerful substances.
- 8Protect yourself.Wear protective gears and clothing such as gloves, long pants, shirts with long sleeves, socks, and shoes, especially when you spray insecticides, pesticides or other toxic chemicals.
- 9Get the space ventilated.Make sure to turn on an electric fan and open the Windows before using potentially harmful chemical products such as cleaners and bleach.
- 10Use prescribed medicines according to the right dosage.Do not self-medicate, misuse or abuse prescription, OTC (over-the-counter) medications, and regulated drugs.
- 11Do not take medicines without reading the label.Make sure to turn on the light when you administer medicines or you take it yourself at night. This will ensure that you are using the right medicine in the right dosage.
- 12Not all candies are good.Some parents call medicines "candy" to make the kids take them. Find another way to make them take their meds, but do not call them "candy" or they may sneakily take it without your knowledge.
- 13Keep your lawn free from poisonous plants.Try to identify which plants can do you and your kids harm. Weed them out. Teach older kids about these poisonous plants to educate them.
Tips and Warnings
- 1Take note of emergency numbers. During a poisoning accident, it is important not to get frantic.If you leave someone in your house to babysit your kids, train them to stay calm by giving out specific instructions and numbers to call. Make sure you have the most important emergency numbers posted right where they are visible.
- 2Practice proper disposal of drug and toxic substances. Dispose of unused and expired drugs and household chemicals.Find out from your local government how these may be disposed of safely.
- 3Be warned against use of illegal pesticides. There are banned pesticides that are exported to developing countries.Do not patronize these products so that they may be removed from the market.
- 4Be ready for an emergency. When an accident happens, stay calm.Call the emergency numbers and be ready with information such as:
- The age and weight of the victim
- The name and nature of the poison
- The time of poisoning
- Your location for emergency evacuation if necessary
- Stay on the phone and listen intently to the instructions from the poison control center or emergency operator.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Categories : Safety
Recent edits by: Robbi, Nerissa Avisado