March 15-21 is National Poison Prevention Week in the United States, which is sponsored by various safety advocacy organizations throughout the country. According to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), two children die each day and an additional 300 are treated in emergency rooms for accidental poisoning in the U.S.
But what is perhaps even more shocking is the fact that there has been an estimated 80 percent increase in child poisoning deaths over the last ten years, according to the AAPCC. Everyday household products are among one of the most frequent contributing factors in accidental poisoning injuries and deaths.
And so with National Poison Prevention Week upon us, here is a comprehensive list of five of the most common household products that result in child poisoning and some helpful tips for keeping them secure and avoiding accidental poisoning in children.
Dangerous Household Items to Look Out For:
Cosmetics and other personal care items. Personal care products – i.e. makeup, chemically-based moisturizers, nail-polish remover, hairspray, perfume, etc. – are the most common culprit in accidental poisoning deaths and injuries to children. Keeping these products in cabinets with child locks is the best way to ensure that your child does not become one of the hundreds to be treated for accidental poisoning each day in the U.S.
Painkillers and other prescription medication. You might think that those little “child proof” caps for prescription pill bottles are enough to keep your kids away from your personal medication, but painkillers are the second-leading cause of accidental poisoning among children in the U.S. As a general rule, keeping medication completely out of sight and out of reach is the best way to ensure your kids aren’t accidentally poisoned.
Surface cleaners and disinfectants. Just like with personal care items, all disinfectants and household cleaners should be kept in a cabinet or cupboard with child locks to prevent kids from getting into them. Additionally, you can be preemptive with these products by only purchasing brands that have a child-proof lid. According to the AAPCC, single-dose laundry pods are becoming an increasingly common cause of accidental poisoning in children.
Small objects and toys. Batteries, small magnets and desiccants – the little white packets that companies put inside of pill bottles and shoes to eliminate moisture – are all extremely dangerous and can cause serious internal injuries to children. As always, child locks are the best solution to keeping kids from getting hold of these products. According to the AAPCC, bubble blowing mixture is also a common cause of illness or injury to kids.
Topical creams and ointments. This category includes calamine, skin medication and any other chemically-based creams which can be fatal to children when consumed. Diaper rash creams and baby powder are an easy grab for toddlers and should always be kept out of a child’s reach.
In addition to understanding the various products that can be dangerous for children, developing and maintaining an active plan to keep dangerous products out of reach is an essential component to child safety, especially with young children.
As a precaution, the AAPCC also recommends keeping a list of phone numbers for a local hospital and poison control center around the home in the event of an emergency.