Common Poisons in the Home

Every home is full of poisons, and these are particularly dangerous in households with infants and young children in them. What parents may see as simple products that they use daily for eating or cleaning can be dangerous killers when ingested in large quantities or when used orally rather than topically. Here are some of the most common problems that parents should look out for in their home.

Be Aware of Common Household Hazards

Numerous cleaning solutions are known poisons if they are taken internally, and some can even be dangerous if they are used topically or are left on the skin without rinsing. Kitchens, laundry rooms, and garages are key locations where these items are stored, such as under the sinks and on shelving. Examples include dishwasher detergent, soaps, laundry detergent and pods, insect poisons, fertilizers, furniture polish, bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, disinfectants and window cleaner. Many of these items are packaged in brightly designed containers, making them very tempting for little hands. The bathroom can be another hot spot for poisons to be stored with cleansers, soaps, toothpaste, deodorants, nail polish remover and more often stored under the sink.

Of course, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and even vitamins and herbal supplements can be dangerous when they are in the hands of a young child. Many of these look just like candy, and children are tempted to use them to be like their parents. Parents should store these far out of a child’s reach and should be careful not to drop any on the floor as some drugs are powerful enough to create life-changing symptoms in a single dose.

Parents must take active steps to protect their children from these dangerous. They should all be kept high in cupboards that children cannot reach or should be placed in locked cabinets. This is important even for items that are stored in childproof containers. Children should know that vitamins and medications are not candy. Additionally, parents should keep the Poison Control Center number of 1-800-222-1222 handy, and can even consider adding it as a speed dial to their phones.

Dr. Matney is always willing to discuss dangerous products in the home at a wellness checkup and to give parents advice about how they can make their homes safer for their children. A few simple changes can be all it takes to turn a dangerous home into a safe and stress-free haven.
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