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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Summer Poison Safety Smarts for Parents

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Sunscreen, hand sanitizer, insect spray; all are common items in mothers’ bags in the summer. But what would you do if your curious 2-year-old consumed one of these products?

I was contacted recently by Eliza Gladstone, Director of the national Poison Control Program. She found my post from last summer detailing our own poison scare with our then two-year-old daughter and asked if I would spread the word about the Poison Control Program’s newly updated web site:  http://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/

According to Eliza, “Children under age five make up more than half of all poison exposures, with common household hazards ranging from medications to cleaning supplies.”

Your first step in poison safety is to program the National Hotline into your phone. 1-800-222-1222. This number connects to your local poison control center and is indispensable in an emergency.

Next, review some safey smarts outlined by the Poison Control Program. Here are just a few helpful hints for keeping children safe in the summer months:

  • Never underestimate the power of an insect bite or sting. Insect stings may cause serious problems and even death for those with allergies. Go to a hospital right away if you develop hives after a sting, or have dizziness, breathing trouble or swelling around the eyes and mouth.
  • Be sure to check the label on insect repellent. Select a product that is safe for the age of the user. Follow the directions for application on the label.
  • Watch for signs of food poisoning including fever, headache, diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.
  • Do not leave products containing alcohol (especially HAND SANITIZER) where children can reach them. Alcohol can be dangerous to children, leading to respiratory depression, coma or even death. Signs that a child may have consumed alcohol include sleepiness.

You can find these and other tips on the Poison Control Program web site. If you have any other safety tips for parents, please share them here. Have any of you ever called the Poison Hotline?

 

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Telling Your Child About Death

Children learn about death in many ways but they learn about grieving from the people they are closest to.

Just three weeks ago I paced the house, cleaning and straightening. I was nervous about breaking the horrible news that our neighbor and first-grade teacher had died suddenly. My eight-year-old daughter adored this woman and I knew that she would be hurt.

I learned of the death after dinner, but knew that the end of a long day was the wrong time to tell her. We were still uncertain about the cause of death and hoped that morning would bring more information.

After breakfast and some play time with her sisters, I found a chance to tell her alone. Random bits of advice and knowledge had swirled around in my head all morning.

Years ago, I heard a child psychologist tell parents that bad news should be delivered to children during the first ten seconds of your conversation. Children often get lost if you spend too much time trying to soften the blow.

Remembering this, I held her hands and told her that I had something hard to tell her. She was sitting across from me on my bed. I watched her head drop and her tiny heart break with the horrible words, “Mrs. Apolzan died this weekend.”

With just the slightest movement of my hands, she fell into my arms so we could cry together. Over the next few days, I answered all of her questions as patiently and honestly as I could. We allowed her to cry, to be sad, but also to forget all about it and just play.

She attended a painfully sad memorial service with me at her request and we talked about different customs regarding death, funerals and burial options. She is a very inquisitive child and the extra information seemed to help her to sort out her feelings.

Death is painful only to the living. I did not want to write about it. Looking back now, I realize I simply did not want to live it. I certainly did not want to be the one to inflict the heartache of death upon my child.

But I’m a mother.

I could never let someone else deliver such a crushing blow. My only real choice was to catch her, to hold her and to love her while she learned this painful lesson of life.

Grace and peace.

We loved you, Mrs. Apolzan, and we will always be grateful for our opportunity to know you.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in From Toddlers to Teens

 

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