Tips to prevent accidental poisoning

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that more than 2 million people are affected by poisoning each year with over half of those young children. 

There are numerous potential poisons in our homes. Some of the more common products that can cause serious injury or death are medications, cleaning products, laundry products, pesticides, paints, alcohol, batteries, automobile products and even some plants. 

It is wise to keep any potentially harmful substances in high and locked cabinets so that children cannot have access to them. Even what may seem like a common medication can be deadly to children. 

Never leave children unattended. I joke and say children are often in stealth mode and in no time they can be into something quite dangerous. 

If you think your child may have come in contact or eaten something potentially dangerous, the first thing to do is to take away the rest of the product and call poison control. The number for poison control is 1.800.222.1222. Stop right now and put that number in your phone contacts so you will have it should you need it. The operators at poison control are experts and will guide you through what to do next. Never give activated charcoal or induce vomiting without instruction from poison control or your doctor’s office. Some products are caustic and can cause more damage if thrown back up. 

Contrary from in years past, it is no longer recommended to keep ipecac syrup at home. If you still have ipecac syrup, I would recommend that you properly dispose of it. 

Poison control may advise you to take your child to the emergency room or call an ambulance. Be sure to bring the substance that may have led to poisoning for reference for medical personnel. 

We can try our best to keep our homes a safe and loving place for our children. As children get older it is important to teach them not to eat anything that a stranger gives them or anything without a parent’s permission. 

Always keep a close eye on your children and be alert to any possible changes in them. You will not regret calling poison control and being told a product is not harmful to your child so if in doubt, always seek professional guidance.


Katelin Whiddon

A native of Conway, Katelin Whiddon is a family nurse practitioner at Central Arkansas Pediatrics. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Katelin Whiddon
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