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Danger!

By Tresa Erickson

You've seen the poison symbol on product labels numerous times, but have you ever stopped to read the actual warnings? No? Well, if you have young children in the house, you might want to start paying attention to those warnings. Every year, accidental ingestion of poisonous substances results in hundreds of phone calls to the Poison Control Center and hospitals. While some of these incidents can be taken care of at home, others are more serious and require medical attention. Fortunately, you can prevent the situation from occurring in your home by following these tips.

Take inventory of the products in your home and move all poisonous substances into locked cabinets high out of young children's reach. This includes all cleaners, beauty products, office supplies and anything else of a poisonous nature. As you are surveying your home, don't leave any area untouched, including your purse and desk. While you're moving things around, you might also want to consider getting rid of any poisonous plants.

Medication requires special consideration. Never refer to it as candy or take it in front of young children. There is too much of a risk that they will imitate you. Always keep medication in its original containers. Do not transfer medication to a different container that young children might find attractive or look at and mistake the contents of for candy. Be careful where you store medication. Do not put it in your purse, the medicine cabinet or any other place where young children could easily get to it. Although the medication might have childproof caps, that doesn't mean it is safe. While difficult, childproof caps are not impossible to remove-persistent young children will find a way to get them off. As with other poisonous substances, store medication in a locked cabinet high out of young children's reach.

Once you have finished poison-proofing your home, head out to the garage. You will probably find a lot of poisonous substances there, including paint, solvents, pesticides and more. Move everything that young children could get into to a locked cabinet high out of their reach. Again, do not under any circumstance store supplies in containers attractive to young children. They won't think twice about what is in a milk jug or soda bottle before drinking it.

In this day and age, you can't be too careful with anything, even the mail. Stories of individuals receiving mail laced with poisonous chemicals are not uncommon. Keep this in mind and always open the mail yourself. Do not allow young children to open it. Should a piece of mail look suspicious or be laced with something, call the authorities right away.

Even with these precautions, accidents can happen. Should your child accidentally ingest a poisonous substance, call the Poison Control Center or local hospital immediately. Tell the operator how much of the substance your child ingested and whether they swallowed, inhaled, injected or spilled it in their eyes or on their skin, and follow the instructions given. If your child needs medical attention, make sure you bring a sample of the substance ingested along with any packaging, box or container it came in.

Young children are known for putting things into their mouths and getting into things they shouldn't. Don't forget that. Take the time to poison-proof your home and encourage close friends and relatives to do it, too. Cover every area, and to ensure you haven't missed anything, crawl around and see your home from a young child's vantage point. You never know what you will find.



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