As we prepare to set back our clocks, daylight savings time is a good opportunity to ensure you have proper safety measures in place to protect your family. Many people use daylight savings as a reminder to change or check the batteries on their smoke detectors. But, with a baby in the house, we recommend taking safety precautions one step further to reduce the risk of poison prevention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that 2.4 million people come in contact with poisonous substances and at least half of them are under the age of 6. As your baby becomes more mobile and inquisitive, she may start to explore new spaces in your home – spaces that may contain cleaning supplies, medications and outdoor and automotive chemicals, such as antifreeze, pesticides and gasoline. According to the AAP, most poison incidents occur when parents or caregivers are home but not paying close enough attention to their children. That’s why everyone should practice important safety measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of our families, especially babies.
Here are some safety reminders to avoid poison prevention in your home:
- Lock cabinets that contain any hazardous substances including medications, cleaning supplies, laundry and dishwashing detergents, outdoor chemicals, automobile liquids, paints and lighters. Remember, eventually your crawling baby may be a climbing toddler and an acrobatic child. Even high cabinets that are reachable by standing on a counter or nearby chair should be locked before your growing tot becomes mobile enough to reach them.
- Always keep potentially poisonous items in their original packaging so they are properly labeled. You may want to add a hazardous material sticker to all dangerous items and explain to your child that the symbol means “NO.” Never place potentially poisonous substances in food or other containers that may be deceiving about its contents or look appealing to young eyes. Also, store dangerous items in a separate place from food.
- Most household cleaners and medicine bottles come with child-proof caps and or simple lock-in-place devices. If you feel the original packaging is not secure enough, add security measures like placing the item in a locked bin or adding a child-proof device to the top.
- Keep purses, bags and briefcases out of the reach of babies.
- Discard outdated or no-longer-needed medication for both you and your children. Always check labels before giving your child medicine. And always call medicine, even vitamins, by their name so your child knows it is not candy.
- Never leave your child unattended around hazardous substances. If you need to leave the room, bring the child or the item with you.
- Keep all appliances in working order to ensure they do not create a fire hazard, produce dangerous fumes or emit toxins.
- Check smoke and carbon dioxide detectors twice a year to ensure they are functioning properly.
- Batteries, especially small button-cell batteries found in small toys, sound books, remote controls and thermometers, can be extremely dangerous if swallowed. Make sure battery covers are secure for these items.
If your baby does come into contact with a poisonous substance and is having visible side-effects or is unconscious, call 911 immediately. If know or think your child has come into contact with poisonous substances but is acting normally, call poison control: 1-800-222-1222. You can also use the following guide for non-critical immediate treatment:
Poison via mouth: Make your child spit out all of the substance and take it away from her completely. Do not induce vomiting.
Poison via skin: Strip your child and wash skin in warm water for at least 15 minutes. Wash clothes thoroughly.
Poison via eyes: Holding the eyelid open, rinse the inner corner of eyes with room-temperature water for 15 minutes.
Poison via fumes: Take your child outside for fresh air. If your child is in respiratory distress, administer CPR until she can breath on her own normally.
As we all get ready for Halloween and then daylight savings time, take the opportunity to put the skull-and-crossbones to good use. That is, for poison prevention and the safety of your baby.