Toddlers and preschoolers are at highest risk for accidental poisoning, says one survey done by Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They’re more mobile and are intensely curious. In less than a minute, they can quickly grab an open bottle of medicine from a bag, kitchen counter or even the waste basket.
In fact, almost 60,000 kids from these age group are hospitalized every year because of accidental poisoning. Here are some precautions you can take.
Medicines that can poison your child
While most parents are vigilant about locking up toxins like cleansers, we often forget that ‘harmless’ vitamins can be potentially fatal if they are consumed in large doses. About 40% of accidental poisoning among toddlers and preschoolers are caused by over the counter medicines. These include cold or cough medicine, antihistamines, vitamins, and acetaminophens. Don’t forget the prescription drugs—your child may find your medications in your bag or on your bathroom counter.
Almost every medicine has this warning on the box or bottle: keep out of reach of children. And the warning must be taken seriously. Many kids mistake the colorful pills for candies, or they may be tempted to copy mom and dad and ‘taste’ whatever it is in that pretty bottle.
Don’t add to the confusion by getting kids to take their own cough or cold medicine by calling it ‘candy.’ Your child will naturally think that it’s okay to ‘get an extra sip’ and may do just that when your back is turned.
Dispose of medicines properly. Flush unused medicines down the toilet, and throw away bottles or foil packs in sealed trash cans.
Many bottles are designed to be child-proof. So don’t transfer them. Or, if you wish to put them in a pill case, make sure that you put it above your child’s reach and even sight—so they won’t be tempted to climb up and get them. It’s best to place the pill box in a cabinet with a lock, not on a shelf where it can fall off.
And, as a precaution, write down the number of the nearest poison control hotline and post it on the refrigerator or near your phone.
Photo from yxhealth.com