What should you do if a child drinks or eats poison?
Young children are at risk of being poisoned in their own homes. In most homes around the globe, you can find many poisonous substances that a child may eat or drink. This is unfortunate. But if you love your child you will protect him or her from these poisonous substances.
What are some poisonous substances that can be ingested by a child? Some of these are gasoline, paint, household chemicals such as detergents and cleaning solutions. Some drink mixtures of cigarette butts and ash which had been left in beverage cans and in ashtrays containing liquid.
Still, other dangerous substances swallowed by toddlers are medicines, cosmetics and toy parts. Several cases resulted in serious illness and some even in death. Oh, how sad!
So, the question is, how would you feel if your lack of consideration of your child’s safety has caused injury to him, or resulted in his death? No doubt, you would feel guilty, won’t you? But the disaster has already been caused. What a price to pay for not planning ahead to avoid disaster!
How would you prevent any of these unfortunate situations from occurring? You need to take preventive measures to avoid harming your child.
When you used paints, cosmetics and dangerous chemicals, ensure that they are put out of reach and sight of your child. Know that children are always curious and want to feel and taste anything they can lay hands on.
So, keep medicines out of the child’s sight and reach in a locked medicine cabinet. Storing household chemicals in a locked cupboard is the best thing to do. It is advisable to keep them in their original containers for easy identification. Never leave residues of detergent in your dishwasher.
After smoking, dispose cigarette butts and ashes off immediately. Better still, you could consider quitting smoking for the safety of your child, and eventually for the sake of your own health.
Toys that can be pulled into small pieces must be thrown away, as they can choke the child if put into the mouth. Do your children play with teddy bears? Then try to fix firmly the eyes and noses on them when they become loosen.
When Poisonous Substance is Swallowed
What should you do if you find out that your child has swallowed a poisonous substance? Well, the first thing to do is to give him water or milk. These will dilute the poison significantly. Then, call a doctor or a poison information center for advice.
If there is no doctor, you must decide whether to induce vomiting or not. With certain poisons such as strong acid (toilet-bowl cleaner), strong alkali (drain cleaner) or any petroleum product (furniture polish), this should not be done. Why?
For one thing, the substance might have caused burns already along the air and food passages, and forcing them back through induce vomiting will worsen the situation.
However, if the poison swallowed is none of the above then it is safe to induce vomiting. You can stimulate it by tickling the back of the child’s throat. Nauseating fluid such as milk of magnesia and water can be helpful when it is given.
The most valuable antidote for poisons and overdoses of medicine is activated charcoal. It can absorb ingested strychnine, arsenic, barbiturates, aspirin and antidepressants. However, the book, When There Is No Doctor, states: “Do not use this medicine if the person has swallowed strong acid, lye gasoline, or kerosene.” Also it is not effective against cyanide, alcohol and other caustic alkalis. The use of activated charcoal allows time for further emergency care to be administered.
Swallowing medicines, household chemicals, and alcoholic beverages may cause illness and even death in a small child. Therefore, we do well to keep these products away and have a risk-free home to save our children from eating any poisonous substance.
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