How to “poison proof” your home and what to do in an emergency
More than 90 percent of poisonings happen within the home, especially within the kitchen and bathroom. Many common household products can be dangerous if inhaled or swallowed — especially for young children. Items such as cleaning products and medications are the highest risks. To keep your family safe from these hazards, here are a few tips for poison-proofing your home.
- Keep your kitchen “clean”
Household cleaners should be kept in their original containers and put away immediately after use to avoid accidental consumption. If you have small children, be sure to keep these cleaners either locked up or at a level a child cannot reach. Consider using “green cleaners,” but do check for dangerous ingredients such as chlorine and ammonia.
- Store Medications Properly
Keep ALL medications in their original containers and be sure to store them in a place where children cannot reach them. Also never call medicine “candy” to coax them into taking it.
- Prevent Lead Poisoning
Lead-based paints were banned in the United States in 1978, but homes built before then may still have some lead paint. Lead poisoning can cause developmental delays and learning difficulties, as well as damage to the nervous system and kidneys — and they cannot be reversed. If you own or buy an older home, be sure to contact the local health department to test your home for lead levels, especially before starting any renovation projects.
- Detect Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel — and carbon monoxide poisoning is caused when these fuels don’t burn completely. It is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths. To stop this unnoticeable threat, it’s important to select and install a carbon monoxide detector.
What to do in an emergency:
Keep the number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) in your phone and posted on the fridge in case of emergency. If your child has accidentally swallowed or come in contact with a poisonous substance, don’t wait to see if symptoms develop — call 911 immediately.
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