About two million young children swallow potentially poisonous substances each year. Safety proofing your home is crucial and should be completed before your child learns to crawl.
Safety proofing begins by recognizing potentially poisonous household items, including household cleaners, plants and prescription and non-prescription medications. Keep such items out of a child's reach, preferably in a locked space. In addition to safety-proofing your home, be certain grandparents' and babysitters' homes are safe, too.
If you suspect your child has ingested a poisonous substance, don't panic. Find out exactly what has been consumed and call the Poison Control Center at 1-800- 222-1222.
Types of Poisonings and What to Do When They Occur
These include medicines, chemicals, cleaning products and plants. Don't give anything orally without professional advice. Call the Poison Control Center.
Poisons on the Skin
Remove any affected clothing. Flood involved parts of the skin with water and wash with soap and rinse. Then call the Poison Control Center or your doctor's office.
Poisons in the Eye
Flood the eye for 15 minutes with lukewarm water poured from a pitcher held three to four inches from the eye. Never use hot water. Then call the Poison Control Center or your doctor's office.
Immediately carry or drag your child to fresh air and give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, if necessary. If your child cannot be removed, ventilate the area. Call the Poison Control Center, your doctor's office or 911.
If you are instructed to go to the emergency room, be sure to bring the container of the suspected poison. If your child has vomited, bring the vomit in a bowl, as it may need to be analyzed.
Lead is a substance that is very toxic. High lead levels in the blood can cause severe neurologic damage, kidney damage and anemia. Even in low levels it may cause behavioral and learning problems.
The most common lead source is peeling lead paint used before 1978. IIf there is a risk that your child has been exposed to lead, a blood test should be obtained. This will indicate if your child is at risk for complications and used to determine if treatment is needed.
Lead screening is recommended when your child is one year old.
Resource materials concerning lead exposure can be found at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.