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Poison-Proof Your Home

Experts give advice on how to keep kids safe

FRIDAY, June 4, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Every 15 seconds, someone in the United States is accidentally poisoned.

About 60 percent of those victims are children younger than 6 whose curiosity about medications, plants and such common household products as cleaners and cosmetics can have serious, even deadly, consequences.

Brenda Schroeder, a safety management specialist at the University of Michigan Health System, offers some tips on how to prevent accidental poisonings in the home.

Parents have to be especially vigilant in high-risk areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and garage. Philodendrons, ivy, daisies and tulips are among the common plants that pose a potential threat.

Here are some ways you can poison-proof your home:

  • Keep poisonous products in a locked cabinet or store them in a high location that's out of reach of children.
  • Keep products in their original containers with the original label, which can provide first aid information in the event of an accidental poisoning.
  • All household cleaners and medications should have child-resistant caps.
  • After you use them, immediately return medications and hazardous products to their safe storage locations.
  • Read the product labels on all cleaning products so you know how to safely use them.
  • Have the Poison Control Center's telephone number (1-800-222-1222) where you can quickly and easily find it.

Adults should never behave in way that might tempt children to want to try medications.

"Always make sure not to refer to medications as candy. And, if possible, do not take your medication in front of your children. Children often like to pretend to be grown up and mimic what adults do," Schroeder said.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has more about poisonings.

SOURCE: University of Michigan Health System, news release, May 27, 2004
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