Guest Author - Paula Petrie
Exploring is what kids do. Smaller children will use their mouths to check things out and can easily mistake orange cleaner for a drink, or pills for candy. Even though all poisonous products should be locked up or placed on top shelves away from reach, it is a good idea to have the poison control hot line number next to the phone.
Moms need to be vigilant in seeking out potential dangers from poisoning, climbing, chocking, sharps, and shocks. Every time I would watch my toddler doing something new, I would consider every scenario that he may try and the potential outcome. Then I would work to make that pastime safe. For example, if your child crawls or sits under the coffee table, go under the coffee table yourself. You may be surprised to find sharp edges or a loose screw waiting to be picked and tasted. I also had a plan, or scooped up my child if the phone rang or someone came to the door.
When I was caring for my very young child, I tried to never do any thing “alone.” I was two; me and “mini me.” By this I mean that as I washed the floors, I also watched over "mini me" playing close by with toys. And on my mind was, “There is poison in the bucket.” It is sometimes exhausting, but necessary.
I had one babe that would put anything and everything in his mouth, so I felt that I needed to clean the floors at least twice a day. My husband misses those times, I'm sure. This child also somehow managed to pull quite a long rip in the vinyl flooring when I left him alone, in what I considered a safe area for a few minutes! I guess sometimes it is not only the child that is at risk. Don't worry, very soon your child will grow to another development stage and you can relax (a bit.)
Something else to consider is an infant and child first aid/CPR course. I took this when I was pregnant with my first child. Emergency response time would be an average 1/2 hour to my home and I knew I couldn’t bare to wring my hands and wait if something were ever to happen. Five minutes is way to long to stand helplessly by. I haven't needed any of my training yet, (knock on wood)but knowing I have it, and practicing the steps in my mind when the kids were mouthing everything and climbing, helped me feel confident that I could react in an emergency. Because, believe me, regardless of how vigilant you can be, kids can still find trouble.
More than one million calls are placed within the US each year to poison control centers as a result of unintentional poisoning. Sadly, about 36 children under 5 die each year as a result of ingesting poisons found in the home. The CPSC has the following home safety recommendations:
Keep all household chemicals and medicines locked up, out of sight
and out of reach.
2. Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container
securely after each use. Some products also come in child-resistant
blister cards, which avoid the need to re-secure.
3. Call 800-222-1222 immediately in case of poisoning.
4. When products are in use, never let young children out of your sight,
even if you must take them along when answering the phone or doorbell.
5. Keep items in original containers.
6. Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before
using to understand correct use and dosage.
7. Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where
children can reach them. Lamp oil can be very toxic if ingested by young
8. Always turn the light on when giving or taking medicine. Check the
dosage every time.
9. Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as
"medicine," not "candy."
10. Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of
unneeded and outdated medicines.