Being Prepared In Case Of Accidental Poisoning
by Vicki Lansky
Accidental poisoning is unfortunately very common in young children. The most common causes in children six and under in their order are:
- Drugs (which includes aspirins, be it from a medicine chest or someone's purse),
- Personal care products (such as shampoos), and
- Household cleaners (such as dishwasher detergent).
Keep in mind that just because something tastes bad doesn't deter children.
Three things that all parents should do to prepare themselves for such a situation are:
- Teach your children to say, "ahh", so that you can look into the mouth in case there is something that you can remove with your fingers;
- Keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac in your medicine chest. This is an inexpensive liquid that can be purchased at your drug store. It's used to induce vomiting, but it should only be used on the recommendation of your poison control center; and
- Have posted, near all your phones, the number of your nearest poison control center. It's in your phone directory or you can get it by calling information.
Most childhood accidental poisonings can be prevented, but only through the efforts of safety proofing and your vigilance.
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Last modified: Oct 24, 1995