Childhood poisoning – what should you be on the lookout for?

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Childhood poisoning is a grim reality in the world we live in, and regardless of how careful you are, it is still possible that your child may access poisonous products which they then ingest. The most disturbing thing is that this will usually occur with kids who are around 5 years of age, and this type of poisoning often incorporates rather common household products. Think that plant additive, the bleach in your bathroom, painkillers in your medicine cabinet, even disinfectant in the bathroom. The commonplace occurrence of these products means that it is extremely important for parents and caregivers to know what to do in case of such an emergency.

What are the signs of childhood poisoning?

Apart from the obvious signs of open bottles and unsealed containers, there are a number of tell-tale signs that a child has been poisoned. Look out for the following signs if you suspect that your child has ingested poison.

  • Redness on the lips could be a sign that the child drank something corrosive or caustic in nature.
  • Check to see whether their breath smells of known chemical compounds.
  • If the child has visible burn stains on their clothes, or on objects within their vicinity, this could point to the type of child poisoning.
  • Shallow difficult breathing that may be accompanied by vomiting.
  • The child may complain of headaches and may look confused.
  • Some cases of poisoning may be accompanied by seiures which vary in intensity.

What should you do when you find that a child has been poisoned?

  • Do not attempt to give the child anything as this will actually do more harm than good. In the same breath, steer clear of trying to make the child vomit as this will cause corrosion of the digestive tract. Call the emergency lines.
  • In case of childhood poisoning, make sure that you give an accurate and detailed explanation to the person who picks the phone. What symptoms does the child exhibit? How long has it been since the child ingested the poison? If you have the suspected poison, make sure to provide the name and/or the active ingredients.
  • In the event that you head to the Emergency Room, ensure that you take the suspected poison container to show the attending doctor exactly what you are talking about.

How do you prevent child poisoning?

  • Post the emergency number for the Poison control center available within your locality. You should also furnish the babysitter with this information so that they are well versed with relevant info.
  • Store all potential poisonous products away from the child’s access. These will include medication, cleaning solutions and detergents, alcohol and cosmetics. Go ahead and invest in childproof storage cabinets.
  • Steer clear of taking medication when your child is around as they will try to replicate that scenario in your absence.
  • Avoid calling medicine ‘sweets’ as this could mean that it is okay to take medicine anytime.

These are handy tips that will ensure childhood poisoning does not occur.

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