Making your home safe for your grandchild
Buying safe toys for your grandchildren

Watching your medications when you're with your grandchildren

Since I've written about children being poisoned by household items over the years, I'm really careful about putting my purse, which contains medication and supplements, out of the reach of my four-year-old twin grandchildren. However, on my last visit, when I came downstairs in the morning twice, my purse was easily with reach of my grandchildren.

Not good. A young child can get into her grandmother's purse and swallow medication in a few seconds.

More than two million poison exposures were reported to local poison centers in 2005, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. About half of these exposures occurred in children under the age of six. Ninety percent of the poisonings took place in the home.

The most common poisons among children are:

  • Cosmetics and personal care products.
  • Cleaning substances.
  • Pain medicine/fever-reducers.
  • Coins, thermometers.
  • Plants.
  • Diaper care, acne preparations, antiseptics.
  • Cough and cold preparations.
  • Pesticides.
  • Vitamins.
  • Gastrointestinal preparations.
  • Antimicrobials.
  • Arts, crafts, and office supplies.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Hormones and hormone antagonists (diabetes medications, contraceptives).
  • Hydrocarbons (lamp oil, kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid).

If your grandchild is unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizures due to poison contact or ingestion, call 911immediately. If your grandchild has come in contact with poison, and has mild or no symptoms, call your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poison Prevention and Treatment Tips, a one-page fact sheet by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a great resource to print out and hang on your refrigerator.

Poison Prevention Week 2008 is March 16-22. The association offers helpful materials on preventing poisonings in children.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission fact sheet, "Locked Up Poisons," also provides important information for preventing poisoning tragedies.

My next post on The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide will discuss buying safe toys for your grandchild.

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