Even if you are aware of some poisoning dangers for kids, there are others which can surprise you. We bring some of these, and how to keep your child safe from them.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers recorded about 2.2 million cases of poisoning in just 2015. About half of these were cases of six-year-old children or younger. Even if you know that you should keep your medications, cleaning supplies and pesticides away from children, there are some other hazards you may be overlooking.
You have probably heard of this one, yet, besides all the warnings, the laundry detergent pods are still a big threat for children. In 2016, as many as 11,528 children of the age of 5 or younger were exposed to these pods. In first two months of this year, alarming 1,558 cases of exposure have been reported to poison centers. Laundry and detergent pods are interesting to children because they are usually small and colored, and they can resemble candy or juice. Effect after ingestion of laundry pod includes coughing, vomiting, breathing difficulties, scratches to the eyes lethargy and, in some rare cases, coma.
Poison prevention: Throw them away. It is a suggestion that homes with small children should use powder or liquid washing detergents, at least until the child reaches school age. If you do not wish to cast them, keep them in high places, out of reach and in containers that cannot be easily opened.
E-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine
These can also be very dangerous for the children. Nicotine is generally distasteful, so it cannot be drunk in big amounts. Yet, the liquid form used in electronic cigarettes is highly concentrated, so even a small amount could possibly be very harmful. Side effects of ingestion of nicotine include vomiting, muscle contractions, sweating and increased heart rate. Nicotine applied to the skin can cause burning sensations. Of course, effects depend on the amount of nicotine and its concentration. A recent case reported a child who nearly died from liquid nicotine.
Poison prevention: Do not use electronic cigarettes around children, and keep them and liquids out of children reach. Make sure you have also disposed of them properly (according to the instruction), so a child does not later find it.
Natural products such as essential oils (e.g. eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, peppermint oil) are, surprisingly, not always safe. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of exposures to essential oils has doubled, and alarmingly, 80 percent of these cases include children. Two common ways of exposure include child drinking the oil and inappropriate application by parents (for example, application of undiluted oil). Effects are versatile: vomiting, stomach pain, muscle weakness, seizures, breathing and nervous system difficulties, confusion or even coma. If a child somehow accidentally inhales oil, this can cause pneumonia.
Poison prevention: Treat essential oils the same way as medications. Use them only for their main purposes, keep them in a locket cabinet, and out of children reach. Make sure that you follow the instructions stated on label or guide.
If you are not sure how to use them, or whether are they safe for use, consult your pediatric doctor or poison control center.