Summer is vacation time and school is out, bringing changes to daily household routines. Although you may take great pains to make your home a safe place for your child, the Indiana Poison Center would like to remind you that during vacation time the risk of poisoning increases. According to Dr. James Mowry, Director of the Indiana Poison Center, “Vacations are a time to relax but parents need to remember that an unsupervised child is more at risk for poisoning and other injuries”. This applies not only when a child is traveling with his or her family but also when guests visit the child’s home. Medications that are usually locked away at home may be more accessible while traveling in a vehicle or staying in a hotel room. Visitors to your home may not be used to having young children around and may leave dangerous items in suitcases and other places within easy reach of children.
The Indiana Poison Center offers the following tips for a poison-safe summer:
Give guests a safe place such as a cabinet that locks or a tackle box with a padlock to store medicine and other potentially dangerous items during their visit. Remind them not to leave these items in suitcases and handbags where children can easily find them. Be especially vigilant about daily pill containers. These containers are rarely child-resistant and pose a particular risk to young children since they give access to multiple medications at one time.
Remind visitors that children love to imitate adults. Ask them to take their medication where children can’t watch.
Be sure that one person is responsible for watching each child. It’s easy for children to find medicines and poisons if everyone thinks someone else is paying attention.
On the road:
Keep medicines locked up in a suitcase or other container. A tackle box with a padlock works especially well for road trips.
Remember to remove potential poisons from handbags and diaper bags and keep them out of reach of children. Items such as medications, sunscreen and baby powder could become a problem if eaten by a curious child.
Take the poison center phone number with you. Call 1-800-222-1222 from any place in the United States to reach the local poison center, 24 hours a day.
Away from home:
Poison-proof any place where you stay. Lock medicines and household products away from children. Use child-resistant packaging on medicines and household products, keeping in mind that these containers are not childproof.
Remind others to lock medicines and household products away from children and to return these items to safe storage immediately after use.
Remember to keep house and garden plants, ashtrays and alcoholic beverages out of reach of young children.
Check for other safety features such as outlet covers, gates at the tops and bottom of stairs, window blind cords, etc.
Test your Summer IQ
Select one answer for each of the following ten questions.
1) You bought a tube of pain-relieving cream for the sunburn you got yesterday. You find your toddler sucking on the end of it. What should you do?
A. Nothing - she only swallowed a little bit.
B. Check the tube to see if you need to buy some more.
C. Call the poison center right away: 1-800-222-1222.
2) You’ve hacked out some underbrush for a fire in the park’s charcoal grill. Is this a good idea?
A. No, because it won’t taste as good as hickory or mesquite.
B. No, if there’s even a chance of poison ivy in there.
C. It’s OK if your local fire marshal approves.
3) Your family is enjoying a camping trip. You go hiking in the woods and find something that looks like a carrot. Should you put it in the campfire stew?
A. Sure. Carrots taste great, and they’re good for you, too.
B. Maybe. Nothing very poisonous grows in the woods.
C. No – that “carrot” could be hemlock and eating it could be fatal.
4) A storm is coming and you run outside to put the kids’ bikes away. A snake bites you on your bare foot. What should you do?
A Find the snake and kill it.
B. Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
C. Since most snakes aren’t poisonous, wait to see what happens.
5) You are at a neighborhood barbecue. Your child gets into some charcoal lighter fluid and you think he might have swallowed some. Is this dangerous?
A. No, it’s just a clear liquid.
B. It depends on how old your child is.
C. Yes. It can easily get into the lungs and cause pneumonia.
6) You’re spraying weed killer on the lawn and your daughter sneaks up behind you. You turn around in surprise - and your daughter gets the spray all over her skin. What should you do?
A. Wash the affected skin with soap and water and rinse for 15-20 minutes with running water. Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
B. Wait to see if she gets a rash.
C. Nothing. Garden chemicals are only poisonous if swallowed.
7) You’re at a family picnic. Your two-year-old son decides to drink from the frosty pink pitcher of alcoholic punch. What should you do?
A. Nothing. He’ll just take a longer nap and you can get in a few more innings of softball.
B. Call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
C. Don’t worry - it’s a hot day and he’ll just sweat it out.
8) You’re visiting Grandma’s house. Your child tells you how good those white candies are - and offers you some. You discover that those “candies” are Grandma’s pills. Now what?
A. Call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
B. Wait until grandma gets home so you can ask her what they are.
C. Don’t worry. Grandma is pretty healthy, so she wouldn’t be taking any dangerous medicines.
9) Last-minute company is coming. You’re short on mushrooms for dinner. Should you pick those white ones that are growing on your lawn?
A. Only if they match pictures of safe mushrooms in an encyclopedia or on the internet.
B. Only if your neighbor says they’re OK.
C. No - eating some types of wild mushrooms can cause severe liver damage, or even be fatal.
10) You’re having a summer outdoor party. What can you do to avoid food poisoning?
A. Keep cold foods cold, in a cooler in the shade and keep hot foods hot.
B. Keep hot and cold foods at room temperature for no more than two hours. (one hour if the air or room temperature is above 90 degrees.)
C.. Keep raw meat and poultry and their juices separate from other raw foods and from cooked foods.
D. Wash your hands before handling food.
E. All of the above.
Indiana Poison Center experts are standing by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help with poison emergencies. To learn more about poison prevention and to receive a free home safety check list, a magnet and phone stickers, call the Indiana Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222, or visit the Center’s website at www.clarian.org/poisoncontrol.
The Indiana Poison Center is an independent, non-profit, agency providing coverage and services for the entire state of Indiana. It serves as both an emergency telephone service and an information resource center, with services accessible to the general public and health care professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. The IPC is the designated Regional Poison Information Center for Indiana and is certified by the America an Association of Poison Control Centers. It is a collaborative effort of the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana University Health, the Federal HRSA Poison Control Program and health care providers throughout the state.
– Rushville Republican