Posts Tagged ‘poison’

Poison Prevention Week

Monday, March 18th, 2013

poisonThe American Association of Poison Control Centers is observing National Poison Prevention Week, March 17 – March 23. We think it’s a great idea to help spread the word on how to keep your children safe around medicines and chemicals. Here are some really important things you should know:

  • Children younger than 6 account for about half of the calls placed to poison centers about poison exposures.
  • Keep cleaning supplies and medicines locked up and away from children!
  • When it comes to poison prevention, child-resistant is not child-proof. Layer the protection: re-seal and lock up, out of sight and reach.
  • Tell children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never call medicine “candy” to get them to take it.
  • Add the Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222) to all emergency contact lists and emergency kits, and make sure that babysitters and caregivers know where to find them.
  • If the unthinkable happens, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away. Program your cell phone with the Poison Help number and post it near your home phone. 1-800-222-1222.

Want to learn more? Here’s a link to some great answers to frequently asked questions.

Sugar ants are such a nuisance

Friday, August 10th, 2012

ants1The grandkids have been visiting and we’ve been eating tons of fresh fruit, especially watermelon. It is so sweet and refreshing we eat it everyday. But a couple of days ago we were in a hurry to go off to the beach and didn’t get around to thoroughly washing off the counter. Guess who moved in while we were out?

Sugar ants (that’s what we’ve always called them) are those tiny little ants that show up when something sweet and sticky is around. They’re not even as big as a grain of rice but they can travel in large groups. They’re particularly good at hiding, so when you think you’ve swept them all up, two pop out from behind a coffee cup and three others sneak out from under the mail. Grrrrrrr!

So we swabbed down the counter with one of those bleach sheets which pretty much did the job of getting rid of them. But should you find yourself in a situation where you just can’t get rid of the tiny terrors or you’re wrestling with their large cousins and feel the need to resort to using a pesticide, remember the following:
• Read the label first. Follow the directions exactly. Pay special attention to warnings, cautions and restrictions.
• Whenever you can, use non-chemical pesticides. But remember, even natural ingredients can sometimes be poisonous, always read the label.
• Use only the amount recommended. Don’t think that twice the amount will do twice the job!
• Cover all food before using a pesticide indoors.
• Keep children, their toys and pets away from the area where a pesticide is being used. Wait until the area has dried or until the label says it’s safe for them to come back.
• If you use a pest-control service, ask them for information about the risks and safety precautions for their products.
• Put the phone number of the Poison Control Center near your phone: (800) 222-1222. You really should have it there anyway.
• Store pesticides out of children’s reach. Use a locked cabinet or garden shed. Child-proof safety latches are also a good idea. You can buy them at a hardware or home-supply store.
• Never put a pesticide in a container that children might think is food or drink. For instance, a jar or bottle with a liquid pesticide might look like something to drink.
• Never place ant, roach, mice or rat bait where small children can get to them. Kids are great at pulling chairs up to counters and climbing up.
• Teach your children that pesticides are poison and that they shouldn’t touch them.

The Environmental Protection Agency has more information about how to prevent poisonings in your home at this link.

Spring cleaning your yard

Friday, May 25th, 2012

pesticidesfertilizersDid the warm weather and sunshine last weekend boost you into overdrive like it did me? I was outside weeding, pruning shrubs that have already bloomed and planting some flowers. I dragged out the fertilizer for some things and went in search of weed killer for others.  I discovered a healthy crop of poison ivy and wanted to nip it in the bud before it really takes over that part of the garden.

We don’t have a garage, so we keep our chemicals on the top shelf of a “gardening room” in our basement where visiting children won’t see it. While mixing up and spreading all of these chemicals, it occurred to me that I was lucky I didn’t have small fry around at the time. It reminded me to mention once more how important it is to lock up poisons when not in use and to keep kids away from treated areas until it’s safe for them to be romping through the grass again. This goes for your pets, too.

Whenever you can, use non-chemical pesticides. But remember, even natural ingredients can sometimes be poisonous. Always read the label and follow instructions, including those for keeping them out of the hands of children and safely disposing of the empty containers.

If you’re going to be out in the yard this holiday weekend, wait to treat the weeds until the weekend’s over and yard traffic dies down. You’ll be able to relax and let the tots crawl in the grass without concern.

Dangerous button batteries

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

button-batteriesThe dangers of button batteries, roughly the size of a dime, are back in the news. According to a study just published in the journal Pediatrics by a group of researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, there were an estimated 5,525 ER visits caused by batteries in 2009, with the majority of them occurring in children under the age of five.

Swallowing a button battery can cause serious problems if it becomes stuck in the esophagus. (Kids have been known to stick them in their nose or ear where they can be problematic, too.) Lithium, which makes these little batteries more powerful, also makes them more dangerous.  If they are surrounded by liquid, they can generate an external current and can release toxic fluid that can burn through tissue and even cause death in as little as two hours. If you suspect that your child might have swallowed a button battery, don’t wait but immediately take him to the emergency room to have it removed.

Products designed for children should meet certain standards to ensure batteries cannot be easily removed – such as adding a screw to secure the compartment door. Do the ones in your house meet these standards? Much of the time protections on children’s products do not extend to products meant for adults. It’s crucial that all of us are proactive – that we search for, identify and secure the button batteries we use.

Here’s a list of some of the items you may have in your home, purse, or car that use button batteries (who knew?!) Check these out:  toys; wireless game controls; hearing aids; digital thermometers; watches; calculators; fun flashing jewelry and shoes; remote control devices, including the wireless access for your car door; greeting cards; flashlights; digital bathroom scales; laser pointers; back-up for your PC or digital clock; PDA devices; battery operated children’s books; glucometers, security tokens; video game cartridges or memory cards; solar/electric candles; bicycle LED head and/or tail lights…

Lock your spare batteries in a cabinet where you also lock poisons or your medications. Make sure you share this information with your friends and family members with young children. And don’t forget to tell grandparents who often are out of the loop on things like this but care for your little ones.

Poison prevention

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

poisonThis week, March 20-26, is National Poison Prevention Week. According to the Poison Prevention Week Council, “more than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 61 Poison Control Centers (PCCs) across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.”

My kids grew up with Mr. Yuck stickers all over pill bottles, household cleansers, paint cans, pesticides… Are you teaching your kids to stay safe? Review the information on the Poison Prevention site, and become actively involved in helping ensure the safety of children and adults in your home and your community.

“Child-proof” caps

Monday, December 20th, 2010

pill-bottlesAre your kids’ grandparents going to be visiting you over the holidays?  If so, they’ll be bringing their medications with them and these little bottles can be a big temptation for tiny hands.  Pill boxes come in all shapes and sizes and, for seniors who may have difficulty opening tight lids, they’re often not child-proof. This can turn into pretty poison for little ones.

Age two has proven to be the most dangerous year for children regarding accidental overdoses, according to hospital ER visits. Prescription containers with easy-open lids can be opened by a toddler in less than a minute.  The most secure bottles have the push down and twist caps.  Please make sure any visiting guests keep their medications up high, out of sight and out of reach.  This includes bottles, like cough syrup.

By the way, the most common and deadly accidental overdose involving children is with acetaminophen (Tylenol).  It’s in most houses because it works well, but it is a danger to kids.  Keep it high and away at all times.  Better yet, keep meds in a locked box or medicine cabinet.

Lock up your cleaning supplies, including those handy spray bottles

Friday, August 13th, 2010

spray-bottleIt may be convenient to keep your spray bottle of bleach and other cleansers under the sink, but it’s really dangerous for kids.  A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics claims that while injuries to children from household cleaning products have dropped over the course of 15 years, the overall number remains way too high.  Products studied included bleach (the number 1 product associated with injuries), drain cleaners, ammonia, laundry soap, toilet bowl cleaners, dishwasher detergents, room deodorizers, etc.  Children ages 1-3 years accounted for 72% of the injuries.  The most common access to the chemicals came through spray bottles.

Our 16 month old granddaughter will be visiting us next week.  She is very curious, takes on toddlerhood with wild abandon and gets into everything she can.  Since we live alone, our child-oriented safety habits have become lax and need some attention. (I just realized we have some accessible toilet bowl cleaner and bleach spray in the bathroom!)

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests storing poisonous cleansers like these in locked cabinets, out of sight and reach of children.  Buy products with child-resistant packaging when you can find them, and keep spray nozzles in the OFF position.  Keep products in their original containers and don’t transfer smaller quantities to unmarked spray bottles.  And properly dispose of leftover or unused products, so little curious hands don’t pull them out of the waste basket.  And just in case you ever need it, the toll-free number for the Poison Center is 1-800-222-1222.

National poison prevention week

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Each year, approximately 2.4 million people – more than half under age 6 – swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance. National Poison Prevention Week is March 14 – 20, 2010. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some important tips to prevent and to treat exposures to poison.

Timberland boots for kids recalled

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

timberland-bootTimberland has recalled about 21,000 pairs of Classic Scuffproof Boots sold in toddler size 4 through junior size 7. The logo stamped on the inside of the boots has high levels of lead. Lead is a strong poison that can damage children’s brains.

For more information, visit the Web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Gardening is great therapy

Monday, September 28th, 2009

lawn-careWhen I’m frazzled I love to go dig in the dirt.  My daughter does, too.  When she is at home and the kids are napping, she’ll go poke around in the flower beds or weed the veggie patch.  She made fabulous mud pies as a child! There’s something very satisfying about prompting things to grow, too. 

We were chatting last night about harvesting all the basil and making pesto before the first frost comes.  (Guess what’s for dinner?)  Time to finish pickling and putting by the rest of the goodies, too.  We also talked about soon having to put down manure or fertilizer and other things to beef up the soil over the winter.  This got my husband saying that he needed to fertilize the lawn a couple more times before heavy frost – this guy is way into green grass and hates a weedy lawn.

These are all good things that you may be thinking about soon, too.  But they got me thinking that it’s important to make sure you keep your kids off the lawn while the fertilizer is going down.  If your troops are more like a bunch of wild giggling goofballs who run around in bare feet in all weather like ours, you’ll want to be sure they’re not up to their ankles in potentially poisonous chemicals.  So read the labels and corral the kids with pumpkin carving and apple bobbing if necessary.