Mid America Poison Control Hotline: 1-800-222-1222
Young children constantly explore the world
around them, touching and tasting everything they see. Their natural
curiosity and tendency to put things in their mouths increases
their risk of death from exposure to medicines and household products.
Also, children are smaller, have faster metabolic rates and are
less able to tolerate toxic chemicals, placing them at a significantly
greater risk of poisoning than adults. Children are also poisoned
by lead and carbon monoxide.
Poison centers nationwide provide an
invaluable health service when poisonings occur. By safely managing
approximately 75 percent of poisoning exposures in the home,
poison centers eliminate thousands of needless and costly emergency
room visits. According to the American Association of Poison Control
Centers, every $1 spent on a poison center results in a $6 -
$9 savings in overall health care costs. In 2002 alone, the Mid
America Poison Control Center responded to over 26,000 calls from
the State of Kansas and the Kansas City area.
If you suspect a child
has swallowed something, check his or her mouth. Remove any remaining
poison from the child’s mouth,
then call the poison control center toll-free hotline, physician
or other emergency medical services. When calling, bring the container
of the ingested substance to the phone with you. Call even if you
are not sure that the child was poisoned. The poison center staff
or emergency personnel will determine if you need to do anything
for the child. Do not give the child anything to treat the poison
until you have consulted a poison control center or a health care
professional. Vomiting can often aggravate the poisoning and cause
even greater long-term damage.
For information or emergency poison
assistance, contact the Mid America Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.
(TDD – 913-588-6639)
Click here for a Poison Safety Checklist
in English or Spanish.
Tips for parents:
- Keep poisonous products
locked out of reach. Storing potentially harmful products out
of sight and reach — in cabinets with
safety locks — is one of the best ways to prevent poisonings.
which household products are poisonous. Something as common as
mouthwash can be poisonous due to its alcohol content if a child
swallows a large amount.
- Stay alert while using poisonous household
products. Many poisonings occur while adults are using a household
product like a bathroom cleaner or bleach. Adults should know
where children are when these products are in use. Never leave
a child alone in a room with a poisonous product. It takes
only seconds for a poisoning to occur.
- Never refer to medicine
or vitamins as candy. Referring to medicine as candy could
cause a child to think that it is harmless or pleasant to eat.
Since children tend to mimic adults, avoid taking medications
in front of them. Vitamins, particularly those containing iron,
can also be poisonous to children. Keep them out of your child's
reach at all times and carefully monitor their use.
- Throw away
old medicines and other potential poisons. Discard old medicines
on a regular basis by flushing them down the toilet. Check
your garage, basement and other common storage areas for cleaning
and work supplies that you do not use or no longer need and
dispose of these items.
- Beware of certain cosmetics and personal
products. In addition to medicines, children may be tempted
to taste cosmetics and personal care products. Store items such
as after-shave, cologne, perfume, hair spray, shampoo, artificial
fingernail remover and fingernail polish remover out of reach.
products in original containers. Never put potentially poisonous
products in something other than their original container where
they could be mistaken for something harmless.
- Buy child-resistant
packaging. Child-resistant caps do not guarantee that children
cannot open a container, but they do deter children and increase
the time that you have to stop them before they swallow a poison.
poisonous plants out of reach. Learn which plants in and around
your house are
poisonous, and either remove them or make them inaccessible
to children. Teach children never to put leaves, stems, bark,
seeds, nuts or berries from any plant into their mouths. Household
plants that are often involved with poisonings are dumbcane
or dieffenbachia, philodendron and pothos or devil's ivy.
carbon monoxide detectors in the home. Install CO detectors
in your home in every sleeping area, and on the ceiling at least
15 feet from fuel-burning appliances. Ensure that space heaters,
furnaces, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are vented properly
and inspected annually. If your family experiences symptoms
of carbon monoxide poisoning (often similar to flu symptoms)
get into fresh air and call for medical help immediately.
- If your
home was built before 1978, test your children for lead exposure
and inspect your home for lead paint. The Center for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 6,400 children under the
age of six in Kansas have elevated blood lead levels from ingesting
dust from deteriorating lead-based paint and other sources of
lead. Cover lead paint with a sealant or hire a professional
abatement company to remove the paint. Wash children’s
hands and faces, as well as toys and pacifiers, frequently to
reduce the risk of ingesting lead-contaminated dust. For more
information contact the KS Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
1-866-UnleadedKS or www.kshealthyhomes.org
- Teach grandparents and relatives to take precautions.
Grandparents' medicines can be very dangerous for children. Grandparents
should take appropriate precautions while grandchildren are visiting.
Before the visit, ask them to purchase a bottle of ipecac syrup
to keep on hand, and to post phone numbers to the national poison
control center, 1-800-222-1222, and their local physician near
all of their telephones.