Childproofing Your Home For Poisons by Dr. Chetan Ginigeri

5 min read

Written by Dr. Chetan Ginigeri

Dr. Chetan Ginigeri

A passionate Child Health Advocate, Paediatric Emergency and ICU consultant, Child Safety Expert, Author, and Teambuilder – Dr. Chetan Ginigeri wears different hats according to the role necessit More

Exploratory and experimental are the young kids, so they have the habit of putting anything that they get in their mouth. So, one needs to be very cautious as many products that we use in our daily life like cleaners, sprays, washing detergents, etc. have many chemicals which are ingested or consumed by young kids could be dangerous for the health of the young kids. So, as parents and adults, it is our duty to keep such things out of their reach and do a mandatory check and decide which are the areas that can be locked, what are the products that need to be shifted to a place where the kids do not go, etc.
Most of the times, even the older children are unable to decipher what exactly is unsafe, so it is best to keep all toxic products away else it may lead to accidental poisoning cases. To avoid such nuances, let us understand how child poisoning can occur, what are the common products that can be poisonous, what are the symptoms of poisoning, treatment, and cure for the same, where to seek help and how-to childproof the home so that such incidents do not happen.

kid playing with poisonous thing

How Child Poisoning Can Occur

Child poisoning is a common phenomenon and most prevalent when the child is about one year old till he attains the age of 5 years. Kids are curious by nature, so they want to try new and different things, which is why they want to open and see what is there in the containers and boxes, how a spray works, copying what the adults say and do, and most frequently they explore by tasting a maximum number of things. In this process, they can ingest or swallow some poisonous products, spray and inhale, etc., so they can get imperiled to poison in this playing process, and they are totally unconscious about it.

Poisoning May Be A Medical Emergency

Since poisoning is through toxic products, it could prove fatal for the kid. Thus, even with the slightest of doubt that the child has consumed, sprayed, splashed, or even inhaled or has been exposed to poison in any form, it can lead to an emergency if proper care is not administered. In cases where the child gets unconscious, is unable to breathe, or suffering from some abnormalities, it is best to rush to the hospital.

Common Poisons Around The Home

It is no that people keep intentionally at home, but the products that we use in our day to day lives have some percent of poisonous gases or chemicals which if the child gets exposed to any form, can prove hazardous to health. Every parent tries to be cautious as far as the child is concerned. However, there are some very common things listed as under that we should be aware of as we need them for our daily cleaning and usage. They are:

  • Medicines and pills over the counter, especially pain relievers, iron tablets, bp tablets, etc.
  • Cleaning agents like dishwashing or clothes detergent, drain cleaning agents, washroom cleaners, bleaches, spirits, floor cleaners, tough grease removers, etc.
  • Few fertilizers, car cleaning or products used for the maintenance of gardens
  • Poisonous plants like the lily, mushroom, daisy. Even the plants that have colored leaves are quite harmful ones, and children get attracted to them owing to their color.

Symptoms Of Poisoning

In case the child has been exposed to any poisonous agent, and you are not sure, look out for these signs and be alert. Most of the symptoms are quite common, like in other ailments as well, yet there are few that are alarming enough to understand, and they are:

  • Stomach aches
  • Fits
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • sleepiness

Do Not Wait For Poisoning Symptoms To Appear

Mostly it is seen that the child is oblivious that he has consumed or ingested poison, as he is not aware that it could be that harmful, so one should not wait for the above signs to show but even on the slightest doubt get in touch with a medical health expert. Never forcefully vomit the children as it could have other effects. Not all poisons are strong and fatal, and some mild ones can be taken care of with little medical consultation as well.

Treatment In The Hospital For Poisoning

If the child has been exposed to poison by ingestion, spray, or spill, the child needs to seek medical help and get proper treatment. No chances should be taken under these circumstances. If treated at the right time, the child can be saved easily and can be saved from any other side effects of poison as well. The treatment done in this case is:

  • Close observation
  • Blood tests
  • Antidote if required
  • Therapy by activated charcoal for binding medications.

Poison-Proofing Your Home

No parent would want the child to get exposed to the poison. They would make all possible efforts to keep them away from their reach. To avoid serious health hazards, it is best to take the steps stated below and make the home poison- proof and the vital steps are as under:

  • Medicines comprising of anti-depressants, pain relievers, cough, and cold pills, and sleeping pills, should all be kept at a place that can be locked. If the need is to carry them, always keep the bag where kids cannot access it.
  • Products used for cleaning the garden or house should also be locked properly as they have strong chemicals not advisable to come in touch with the children.
  • Always concentrate while giving medicines as double or extra dosage can be harmful as well.
  • Medicines should never be called as candies to make the child have them, else it might entice them, and they might start eating them without a reason which is not good.
  • Keep the turpentine bottle away from the child’s sight.
  • Do not try and empty the original container and transfer its products to empty food and drink containers as that might confuse the child, making him eat or drink the same.
  • Keep alcohol away from child access.
  • Any harmful chemicals, especially the colored one, should not be kept in the front else the color might attract the child and lead to problems later.

Where To Get Help

Even though the parents try all possible ways, but if the kids still happen to get exposed to poison in, either way, it could be a serious situation. In such a situation, it is advisable to access medical help instantly. For help, one can use the following measures:

  • Call 103 for emergency cases
  • Call the medical practitioner
  • The emergency unit of the hospital nearby can be contacted, as well.

Thus, it can be said that children are very restless, so we cannot stop them from touching and accessing products, however, resorting to childproofing and ensure that they are safe, and we are at ease as well. Since they are children, they have many curiosities, and we cannot curb them, but the least is to ensure that no dangerous or toxic products are easily available and accessible to them.

Dr. Chetan Ginigeri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.

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