Death from accidental poisoning is one of the most tragic events, mainly because most poisonings can be prevented. Even if you live alone, with no pets or children in the house, there are steps you should take to prevent injury, illness and death from poisoning. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
Children and Household Chemicals
Small children learn by touching things and putting them in their mouths and older children are naturally curious about what different things are and what they do. Few children will ask questions or seek permission before trying something out or experimenting with new things. Always keep cleaning products and household chemicals in locked cabinets or on very high shelves.
Keeping cleaning products and chemicals in their original containers is an important way to help kids identify dangerous products and to avoid accidental poisoning. Never use empty soda bottles or other containers to store small amounts of chemicals or products – even if you’re using them immediately – as kids may try to drink them.
Children and Medications
To keep kids safe from medicines, always keep them in their original container so kids will be able to easily identify them. Always make sure that both prescription and over-the-counter medications are in child-proof containers and that they are closed tightly. And, of course, keep medications where little hands cannot reach them.
Don’t rely on child-proof containers alone. Talk to your kids frequently about the dangers of taking too much medication or of taking someone else’s medication. Help them to understand how medications can help people and how they can hurt people. This will help reduce the likelihood of them playing with medications, and will set the stage for important conversations about Â drugs and medications in the future.
Keeping Adults Safe
Although children may seem more likely to become a victim of accidental poisoning, adults are still at risk. Whether it’s from taking the wrong medication or taking too much of the right medication, prescription medications are a common source of accidental poisoning for adults.
Stay safe by getting labels printed in larger type if you typically need glasses to read them and always double check the label and instructions before you take anything. If you take multiple medications at different times throughout the day, take the time to sort your medication into a dosage container divided by day and time.
Whether you’re taking one or many medications, always read the enclosed information and talk to your pharmacist about what you’re taking and what you need to know. You should know if there area any foods to avoid, any over-the-counter products that might cause problems and whether alcohol could cause adverse reactions. The more you know about what you’re taking, the safer and healthier you will be.
Don’t Forget Pets
Keeping your pets safe should also be a priority. For starters, only feed them foods that are made specifically to meet their needs. Human food can give your pets indigestion, cause an allergic reaction, or even cause death.
In addition to their diet, be careful where you store household chemicals, cleaning products, and pesticides. Never store these items where they may accidentally leak or spill into your pet’s feeding and living areas and keep pets indoors after using herbicides or pesticides on your lawn and garden.
Other Household Items
Beyond medications and chemicals, there are a number of items around the house and garage that can make kids, pets, and even adults sick. Here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Keep button batteries stored either in their original packaging or another child-proof container and keep them out of reach of little hands.
The liquid nicotine containers from electronic cigarettes contain enough poison to cause serious illness or even death to a small child or pet and even adults can suffer from skin irritations when handling these products. Always keep them secure and use caution when handling them.
Never use loose rodent control products in homes where kids and pets live or visit.
Always keep products in their original containers, even if you think they are harmless. Being able to identify a product and have access to the ingredients and safety information is important to prevent injury.
Keep energy drinks away from children. Their packaging makes them look like tasty drinks and they often contain enough caffeine and other supplements to cause serious illness or allergic reactions in children.
Check with your guests to be sure they are keeping purses or bags that contain medications secure.
Keep your kids and pets in view whenever you’re using cleaning products or chemicals. If you have to step away – even for just a moment – bring the child or the product with you.
Prevention is Key
Medications, chemicals, and cleaning products are a part of life in every home. The danger they pose is very real and curious children, confused or mistaken adults, and helpless pets find themselves in trouble every day. Poison control centers in the U.S. receive more than 2.2 million calls for help every year. Make sure you’re not one of them by being smart about products around your home and by talking to your children about the various dangers that products, chemicals, and medications can cause.