Never store toxic substances in food and beverage containers. A preschooler won’t be able to read the label “gasoline” in a cola bottle.
An overwhelming number of poisoning cases occur at home. But it’s also where we can most easily intervene and employ these safety measures:
- Teach children about the dangers of tasting unknown substances. Putting things in their mouth is one way for kids to discover the world around them. So it’s important to teach them early on that tasting is not the best nor safest way for them to satisfy their curiosity.
- Never store toxic substances and beverage containers. The most common cause of poisoning in Filipino children is accidental ingestion of kerosene. In a misguided effort to recycle, household often put paint thinner in juice bottles, formaldehyde in mineral water bottles fertilizer in milk cans and multivitamins in candy jars. Children will likely be confused if the dangerous substances are stored in food jars.
- Store medicines and toxic chemicals properly. Keep meds out of children’s reach, In a high compartment or a locked box. Also remember that the active ingredients of drugs are often sensitive to high temperatures.
- Do not transfer medications from one child to the other. Consult your doctor about doses. In particular, do not use pediatric drops for older children. Giving a double or triple dose to an older child might lead to a fatal overdose.
- Don’t mix cleaning chemicals. A cocktail of cleaning agents won’t make a more effective toilet bowl cleaner.
- Know the dangers of personal care products. Because we use them for our bodies, we often forget that these products can be toxic when ingested in large amounts by children. These includes nail polish remover, oils, lotions, and cosmetics.
- Choose the plants in your house and garden. Remove all poisonous flora. Teach children not to eat wild roots, berries, or mushrooms unless with adult supervision.
Written by Dionice J. Monsanto