Poisoning

Common household items can easily become dangerous poisons if consumed by a child.

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Items such as medications, cleaning products, alcohol, pesticides and cosmetics can be poisonous, and must be kept out of your child's reach. These are some ways to keep your child safe.

Poison at Home 

Medications

Keep all medications in a locked cabinet to prevent your child from accidentally consuming them. Even vitamins and minerals, when taken in excess, can be dangerous to young children.
Educate your child about medications. Do not coax children into taking pills and medicine by telling them that they are sweets. If so, they may eat other medicine they find lying around, mistaking them for sweets.
When giving medicine to sick children, always do so in a brightly lit room to avoid giving the wrong dosage or medicine.
Keep medicine in childproof bottles or in their original containers, which should be clearly labelled.
Follow instructions on medicine labels carefully. Dosages are based on your child's age and weight. If there is a dispenser that comes with the medicine, be sure to use it.
Dispose of all unused medicine.
Do not  see more than one doctor when your child is ill, to avoid duplicating medicines. For example, paracetamol poisoning may occur if the caregiver gives this same medicine from more than one doctor to the child.

Cleaning Products and Pesticides

Keep all household cleaners, detergents, aerosol cans and other poisonous substances in a locked cabinet out of your child’s reach.
Label poisonous substances with a prominent “Yuck!” or skull and crossbones label. Teach your child to recognise these labels, and that containers bearing these labels contain poison, not food.
When using cleaning products, be careful not to let your child touch the bottles or consume the poisonous substances inside when you are not watching.
Do not leave rat poison, cockroach powders and other pest baits lying around the house. Opt for alternative methods of pest control such as spraying. If you have to use pest baits, place the baits where your child cannot reach them.
Keep your child away from areas where you have just sprayed pesticide. Allow him/her to come back only after the pesticide has been cleared up. Always follow the user instructions included with the pesticide.

Other Potential Poisons

Cosmetics, hair dye, hairspray, shoe polish, nail polish, nail polish remover, perfume, toiletries, gardening products and car-cleaning agents are also potential poisons. Always store them in a secure place.
Button-cell batteries are poisonous because of the alkaline content, and are dangerous because your child can easily swallow or choke on them. Keep them out of reach.
Do not grow plants with poisonous leaves, flowers or fruit at home. Teach your child never to put leaves, stems, bark, flowers, seeds, nuts or berries from any plant into his/her mouth.
When you take your child on visits to family and friends, always supervise your child to ensure he/she has no access to potential poisons.
Parents should not leave alcohol around, especially after a party. Young children could consume it and get alcohol poisoning.

First Aid for Poisoning




Keep a first-aid box in your home for use during emergencies. Have a list of emergency numbers next to your phone for easy access.

First Aid for Swallowed Poison 

Poison can be fatal. If you think somebody has swallowed poison, call an ambulance immediately or take them to the nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department.

Symptoms of serious poisoning include:
Vomiting
Dizziness 
Palpitations
Difficulty breathing
Redness or burns around the mouth and lips
Odour of chemicals, such as paint thinner or gasoline, in the breath
Fits or seizures, or in contrast, drowsiness or loss of consciousness
 

What to Do When Somebody Has Taken Poison

If the person is conscious, try to get them to spit out anything left in their mouth, but do not try to make them vomit.
If they are unconscious, try to wake them up to get them to spit out anything in their mouth. 
Wipe any substance from their mouth, but avoid contaminating yourself.
Place them in the recovery position (on their side with a cushion behind their back, and with the upper leg bent slightly forward), while waiting for medical help.
If the person’s heart has stopped, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you are able to.


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