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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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