Keeping your kids from making a toxic mistake

Categories: Children's Health  /  Emergency care  /  News

baby within reach of household chemicals under sink

Through the eyes of a toddler, the world is a collection of fascinating shapes and sizes and colors. Some of those colorful shapes contain things that taste pretty good when Mom or Dad pour them into a bowl or cup.

The problem is when things that don’t taste so good — that might even be poisonous — come in similar colorful shapes. And curious kids decide to take matters into their own hands — grabbing the big bottle of disinfecting cleanser that looks a lot like apple juice — when their frazzled parents step out of sight.

“A lot of our chemicals and cleaners are bright, fun colors like our sports drinks and our juices,” said Mandy Fultz with Safe Kids San Antonio in an interview with KSAT TV. “If your child isn’t of reading age yet, they may confuse the two,”

University Health System is the lead partner of Safe Kids San Antonio. The advocacy group has a few tips for keeping household cleaners and other toxic products out of reach.

  • Store all household products out of sight and reach. Young kids are often eye-level with items under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Move bleach, detergents, dishwasher liquid or cleaning solutions to a more secure place.
  • Install child safety locks on cabinets containing toxic items. It’s fast, easy and cheap.
  • Read product labels for potential hazards. Dangerous household items include makeup, personal care products, plants, pesticides, lead, art supplies, alcohol and carbon monoxide.
  • Don’t leave toxic substances unattended while you’re using them — to answer the phone or the doorbell, for instance.
  • Keep cleaning products in their original containers. Never put poisonous products in a plastic soda bottle, for example, where it could be easily mistaken for something else.
  • Get rid of old medicines and other toxic substances. Survey storage areas and your garage for products you don’t need any more.

If your child does swallow something potentially dangerous and is acting normally, call the South Texas Poison Center at 800-222-1222. If your child isn’t responsive or is behaving abnormally, call 911, Ms. Fultz said.

You can see the complete interview on KSAT’s Good Morning SA program here.

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