We keep garden pesticides, mosquito sprays and other insecticides in our home. While these may do a good job of getting rid of the bugs, they are potential poisons and chemical hazards that can do serious injury to children. Kids may also accidentally eat improperly stored pesticides and cleansing agents like roach sprays, chlorine bleach, disinfectants, rat poisons and insect sprays. Here are some things concerned moms should know.
Signs of pesticide poisoning
Symptoms include nausea, mild dizziness, and redness of the eyes or skin. Severe reactions include respiratory distress (difficulty in breathing, wheezing), convulsions, and change in consciousness. Here’s what to do:
• If it was due to contact with the skin and eyes: Remove contaminated clothes. Wash the affected area with clean running water for 15 minutes.
• If it was inhaled: Loosen tight fitting clothes. Bring him near a window or any area where he can get a lot of fresh air. If he has convulsions, has trouble breathing, or is turning blue, give artificial respiration and rush to the nearest possible.
• If it was swallowed: Don’t make the person vomit. Some poisons may cause even grater injury when they are vomited. Bring the person to the emergency room right away.
• Store pesticides and household chemicals on high tables or shelves (usually higher than 4 feet). Use a cabinet you can lock, or buy a plastic lock for the handles (available from Safety First).
• Close the pesticide container properly before storing or in between uses. Never transfer pesticides to different containers that children will associate with foods or drinks, like soda or water bottles. There are cases of kids being hospitalized with a burned esophagus and stomach because they drank liquid lye from a juice bottle, thinking it was their favorite drink.
• Before spraying, cover sofas and tables with cloth. Remove all toys, books and other items your child frequently touches or uses.
• Keep children and their toys away from areas where you spray or apply pesticide.
• For insect repellants that you apply on their skin; read the labels first. Apply only to required/indicated areas, and never put near the eyes, face, mouth, hands, open wounds/cuts or irritated skin.
• Wash the child’s hands, toys, floor areas, walls and other surfaces to reduce exposure.