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NAN: Accidental Poisonings

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 3 million people per year swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance. Many of these people are under age five. Nannies must be vigilant and do their part to prevent accidental poisonings.

The American Academy of Pediatrics shares these tips for poison proofing the home. 

Store medicine, cleaning and laundry products (including detergent packets), paints/varnishes and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children.

Safety latches that automatically lock when you close a cabinet door can help keep children away from dangerous products, but there is always a chance the device will malfunction. The safest place to store poisonous products is somewhere that is locked, out of reach and out of sight of children. 

Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps and store them out of reach of children. Note that safety caps are designed to be child resistant but are not fully child proof. Storing medications in a locked cabinet or safety box can help to prevent children from gaining access to them. Always store medications in their original packaging and properly discard unused medications.

Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name. 

Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage. For liquid medicines, use the dosing device that came with the medicine.

If you use an e-cigarette (which nannies should not when working with children, but this tip applies to anyone in the home), keep the liquid nicotine refills locked up out of children’s reach and only buy refills that use child resistant packaging. Ingestion or skin exposure with just a small amount of the liquid can be fatal to a child.

Never place poisonous products in food or drink containers.

Keep coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order.

Maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Secure remote controls, key fobs, greeting cards and musical children’s books. These and other devices may contain small button-cell batteries that can cause injury if ingested. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that if a child is unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizures due to poison contact or ingestion, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If a child has come in contact with poison and has mild or no symptoms, call the Ontario Poison Centre at 1-800-268-9017 . 

Since different types and methods of poisoning require different, immediate treatment, the American Academy of Pediatrics provides the following advice: 

For a swallowed poison – Take the item away from the child, and have the child spit out any remaining substance. Do not make your child vomit. Do not use syrup of ipecac.

For a swallowed battery – If your child has swallowed a button-cell battery, seek treatment in a hospital emergency department immediately.

For a skin poison  – Remove the child’s clothes and rinse the skin with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.

For an eye poison  – Flush the child’s eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a steady stream of room temperature water into the inner corner of the eye for 15 minutes.

For poisonous fumes – Take the child outside or into fresh air immediately. If the child has stopped breathing, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and do not stop until the child breathes on his or her own, or until someone can take over.  


Michelle LaRoweNAN: Accidental Poisonings