Many common household products can sicken or even kill humans & pets. However, a few simple precautions can help keep your home safe. If used improperly, many things in your house can cause poisoning. While this doesn’t mean you need to get rid of every questionable bottle, it is important that you follow the directions closely when using these items and store them out of the reach of children or pets. Let’s take a look at common household poisons, and what cautionary preventative steps you want to take to make your home safe.
Catalog & Label Household Poisons
The first step in keeping your house safe is knowing which substances are toxic and, for most hazardous materials, this is fairly obvious. However, others may not seem so harmful but are still deadly to ingest. Take a look at everything in your house and create a list of dangerous items. Fortunately, most containers will have a warning section somewhere on the label. Below are a few common household items that may slip under your radar:
- Kitchen: (Soaps, Oven cleaners, Disinfectants)
- Bathroom: (Medicines, Drain Cleaners, Tile cleaners, Ammonia) Keep all medications in child-resistant packaging and out of the reach of children.
- Bedrooms: (Nail polish, Perfumes, Cologne)
- Garage / Shed: (Antifreeze, Cleaners, Gasoline, Insecticides)
- Laundry room: (Bleach, Stain Removers)
- Household Plants: Don’t forget your household plants. Toxic plants are common and can be a hazard to children and pets.
Once you have created your list, keep it somewhere handy in case of emergencies. For easier identification, however, a large sticker on the container will not only be a big help, but children can be taught to stay away from anything with the sticker on it. If nothing else, be creative and create your own.
If you have questions about a product or if your curious that it may be dangerous, the Poison Control Center is a free service and there to help. The Poison Control Center has access to information on more than 300,000 hazardous substances, and their database is updated every three months. Call 1-800-222-1222 and speak directly to a Poison Control Specialist who will be able to answer any poison-related questions.
Lock Them Up
There isn’t a parent in the world who hasn’t been frustrated by the imagination and ingenuity of their children when it comes to exploring the house; especially areas that they know they aren’t supposed to get into. Because of this, you, the parent, are obliged to take drastic steps when it comes to keeping hazardous materials locked away…literally. By storing toxic chemicals in a locked cabinet, you will significantly reduce the chance of your child or pet stumbling across them. Granted you will have to sacrifice a bit of convenience, but the lack of hospital trip will make it worthwhile.
In Case of Emergency
Be prepared to give an accurate history of what happened to the person exposed to a poison or suspected poison. Acting quickly, limiting the time between an exposure and treatment can often save lives and reduce symptoms. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 and be prepared to give the following information:
- Medical history
- Pre-existing health conditions
- Past allergies
- Exact name of product − many products have similar names but different active ingredients
- Strength of the medication − many medications are available in different strengths
- Amount of product involved in the exposure
- Time of exposure
- Symptoms experienced
The EMT’s who respond to your call will need this information too so it is helpful to them if you already have it written down for their reference. There are many treatments they can start en-route to the hospital.
Sadly, most dangerous chemicals come in brightly colored containers to attract your attention at the store. This means that they will also catch the eye of small, curious children who will want to explore the contents. However, with a bit of preparation and care, you will keep your kids and pets safe and be able to breathe easier when they are out of sight.