Children and Poisons
Accidental poisonings occur more often in the home than anywhere else. And, they involve small children most of the time.
Small children are more resourceful than you think. Many substances in your home that are considered poisonous are expected to be out of reach of children. It says as much on the labels of the bottles. If anyone ingests it or breathes the fumes, they expect it to be an adult who had an accident while handling it.
Putting things in their mouths is a child’s favorite thing to do. They won’t stop with toys or teething rings. If given the opportunity, anything around the house is fair game.
It is better to be safe than sorry. Take a look at your child. Some of the signs that they have ingested a poisonous substance could be burns around the mouth, nose or on the hands (corrosive substances). Your child will scream as the chemical comes in contact with their skin.
Smell their breath. If it smells like a chemical in your home, they have probably swallowed it.
Hopefully you won’t find your child unconscious. If they have fallen down, check to see if they are breathing. Depending on what they ate, breathing could be labored; there could also be a fever or a rash that has shown up.
Take a deep breath and resist the urge to panic. Your child needs you every minute from this moment forward. Get on the telephone and call the Poison Control Center. Keep the number posted beside your telephone so that you can easily access it. It can also be found in the inside cover of the phone book where the numbers for police, fire and emergency are also listed.
Give the person on the other end as much information as you can about the incident. If you have the bottle, read what it says about the ingredients and also what do to in the event of an accident. They may be able to instruct you on how best to proceed.
Call emergency services. Your child will need medical attention. Make the call to 911 first if you find them unconscious.
Perform CPR. If your child is not breathing, begin chest compressions and rescue breathing. Keep going until emergency services arrive.
Don’t make them vomit. If a corrosive has been ingested, vomiting can introduce more acid into their throat and cause further burns.