Poison or not?


Precaution is better than cure ~ Edward Coke

I apologise for being away for so long. I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, and have been swamped. I’m I will be able to create more time for this as I settle into the routine of work. I did a post here once about keeping medicines and chemicals/poisons stored safely from our kids. Since we already talked about that,
I just figured it’d be a good idea to give a list of common and potential poisons we may be keeping at home that we may not be very aware of. 

Apparently, poisons aren’t just limited to our cleaning agents and maybe medications. There are a few more things. Over one million people under the age of five (make that children), in the US suffer some form of poisoning (not food). I don’t know what the statistics are in Nigeria. I have to state here that it hard to get reliable data in Nigeria. I work in the financial industry and I know how tough it is to get information / statistics on the economy that is thoroughly being monitored, let alone a sector that doesn't get that much attention. Hopefully, that will change in the future as more people get involved in child safety and there is more awareness about it.So back to my list of common poisons, I was reading on the most common poisons for babies and children and this is the list I found, including some others that I know are common in Nigeria. See below: 
  • Detergents (both liquid, powder and tablet): general cleaning substances and laundry products;
  • Medicines;
  • Energy drinks (caffeinated beverages): Some of these drinks have high amounts of caffeine compared with regular coffee. Even though these target older teens and adults, children could lay their hands on them. Some dangers from these for children are seizures and cardiovascular problems;
  • Ethanol (Alcohol): Sometimes this could just come from letting almost empty bottles lying around, that kids can grab and drink; and when mixed with energy drinks, quite dangerous
  • Plants: some plants could be really poisonous. So if you are one that loves fresh plants in or around your house that your baby could probably have access to, you might want to consider the kind of plants to have or maybe just holding off a wee bit until children are older (a post on child-safe plants coming up soon)
  • Cold and cough medications: These are not usually recommended for children below 2 years of age.
  • Pesticides: From aerosol sprays, those rat poison bottles we mistakenly let lie around (especially as we are dealing with eradicating rodents to stem the spread of lassa fever) etc;
  • Kerosene: Years ago, one of my cousins (she was about six years old then) drank kerosene. Power had just gone out and while trying to get water to drink, she mistook the bottle of kerosene for a water bottle and just drank from it. This right here is a potential poison.
  • Some toys, coins etc;
  • Cosmetic and personal care products, including mouthwash;
  • Camphor (naphthalene balls or mothballs): Be careful when you have kids around cos these candy-looking objects can just be picked and popped in the mouth by curious toddlers;
  • Room fresheners: Could pose a risk when used excessively in an enclosed area with a child;
  • Batteries;
  • Nail polish remover,
I'm sorry if this looks overwhelming. It's tempting to say our parents didn't have to deal with all these and they were fine, but we need to understand that a lot of things have changed from then till now. It might be difficult to monitor all these, but we can try and limit exposing our kids as much as possible. So my advice would be, focus on the things that you can control right now around your children. We don't have poison control numbers or agencies to call in Nigeria, and in Lagos, I’m not sure how quickly an ambulance can get to you in an emergency. And also, trying to get through traffic might be one big challenge as well. Here are a few poison treatment tips according to the American Academy of Paediatrics while trying to get the child to the hospital:
  • Swallowed poison: Take the item away from the child, and have the child spit out any remaining substance. Do not make your child vomit; 
  • Eye poison: Flush the child’s eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a steady stream of room temperature water into the inner corner for 15 minutes;
  • Skin poison: Remove the child’s clothes and rinse the skin with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes;
  • Swallowed battery: Seek treatment in a hospital emergency department immediately.
Remember, precaution is better than cure.

Please share tips and stories of your experience in the comments section.

The Baby Analyst.
Not a doctor, just a financial analyst who loves kids


Comments

Kay said…
How about coins? I remember a co-worker's 20 month old swallowed a coin and the baby sitter kept trying to push the coin down her throat because it was too far in her mouth to remove. The child almost died because the coin blocked her windpipe. I'm wondering if you know of any safe way, you csn share, to handle this kind of accident at least while on the way to the hospital.
Hi Kay,

Kids playing with small objects is dangerous cos of the potential choking hazard they pose. I'm so glad the child was fine in the end.

I think the first advice is to try not to panic. A lot of times, coins or objects swallowed by kids do not cause much immediate damage (if they are not sharp or do not block the windpipe), as more often than not, they usually would cough really hard and dislodge the coin or object from the throat without extra effort (and if they swallow it all the way down, they could pass it out in stool).

If you can't see the coin or object, try not to stick your finger in the throat or reach out to get it as it could get pushed further down the throat and cause more damage (which I think the babysitter tried to do). Some parents have said that this works for them though.

If the caregiver is experienced in carrying out either abdominal thrusts or CPR, they can do it. Otherwise, there isn't much that can be done at that point except to prevent the situation from aggravating, and getting immediate medical attention whether or not the coin or object is expelled.

I hope this helps.
HER Gist said…
Fest of all, "CONGRATS" on the new gig, wishibg you all the best☺
A really nice write up on the less obvious safety hazards. I especially liked the reference to our parents' generation n their style of child rearing (I'm a child of the 70s, so I can totally relate).
We do live in totally different times and face a different set of challenges raising 'babies'- a different episodešŸ˜Š
Kay, just to chime in on the coin swallowing scenario: I totally agree with Baby Analyst, first things first is TRY to remain calm. I have a housefull of 'babies' that includes 4boys...you can imagine, the things have gone in the mouth n sometimes made it to the belly; so far no coin has been harmed in their ruckus.What I have found though with kids is that the mirror everything they see, so when you are calm they remain calm.
HER Gist said…
Fest of all, "CONGRATS" on the new gig, wishibg you all the best☺
A really nice write up on the less obvious safety hazards. I especially liked the reference to our parents' generation n their style of child rearing (I'm a child of the 70s, so I can totally relate).
We do live in totally different times and face a different set of challenges raising 'babies'- a different episodešŸ˜Š
Kay, just to chime in on the coin swallowing scenario: I totally agree with Baby Analyst, first things first is TRY to remain calm. I have a housefull of 'babies' that includes 4boys...you can imagine, the things have gone in the mouth n sometimes made it to the belly; so far no coin has been harmed in their ruckus.What I have found though with kids is that the mirror everything they see, so when you are calm they remain calm.

I feel so so encouraged by your comment. Thank you so much!
Wow! 4 boys!!! Well done to you!

Hope to see more of you around :-)
FaBsLeDgE said…
Nice piece we have here TBBA.

While we cannot be totally aware of everything our "mini us" do, we can at least help to control what lies around to their reach. (Little wonder they say keep out of reach of children)

@Her Gist...You have more than a handful. That's a community full of strong men. Well done!

I feel so so encouraged by your comment. Thank you so much!
Wow! 4 boys!!! Well done to you!

Hope to see more of you around :-)
Thanks Fab.

You're right. Sometimes it could get overwhelming looking out for everything.

I know right...Keeping things out of reach of children (so long as what we're keeping out of reach is not ourselves... LOL)
At age 5 I swallowed a coin I coughed it out real hard.. Cause growing up everything was put in my mouth... I think kids these days are alot smater so they just want to explore everything.. Cotton buds should be added to the list, it has gotten stuck in my ear before...

Popular posts from this blog

Do they really have to hug or kiss?

Thinking about daycare? Tips on what to look out for - Part I

Drowning outside water?