WSFA 12 Special Report: Poison proof - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

WSFA 12 Special Report: Poison proof

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

It can be a parents worst nightmare. You discover an open container, and your child unresponsive nearby.

It can be easy for children to get into something they shouldn't thinking it was a soda or candy, and end up in a life threatening situation.

Children are small, and when they are on the floor they are quick, and always on the move. But they also like to put things in their mouths and at this age and size, your home can become a mini wonderland.

Nurse Beth Rickenbaugh is a poison control specialist and these days she is getting more calls from grandparents who have realized that their grandchild has gotten into their medications.

"They sound frantic and frightened," Rickenbaugh said.

It can happen so fast, and sometimes no one will notice it.

"She climbed up and got some medication, so of course she was in trouble for a while but she's OK now," Laura Jones said.

Jones says it happened to a friend's grandchild, and as a grandmother herself, she understands how it could happen.

"You've raised your children so you don't think too much about having another little one in the house, until something happens or you hear that something happens," Jones said. "At that point you realize ok I need to change my habits."

So what do you have to look out for?

Here is what the Poison Control Center says are the most common household poisons.

-Pain Medicines & other Medications

-Household Cleaners

-Cosmetics such as lotions, perfumes, nail polish remover, even mouthwash


-In your garage, you have to look out for gasoline and antifreeze

Shannon Andress with the Montgomery County Extension System is an expert on helping people with household problems.

Andress, who is also a mom, says parents, grandparents and babysitters should store dangerous materials up high, and properly label and secure everything down below.     

"So many candies look like medications and even some breath mints look like medications," Andress said. "Don't ever store things that are not in their original containers. Kerosene can look like water, and if you put it in a water bottle, a child may be tempted to take a gulp."

It's a growing problem in Alabama as a study by Children's Hospital says that over the past three years, the exposure of children, up to 5-years-old, to non pharmaceutical household chemicals was a little over 40%. When it came to things like medicines however, the exposure was well over 50%.

These tips are not just for small children. Always consider the safety of your pets at home.

Veterinarian Andy Sokol says the key to protecting pets is not giving them access to where hazardous materials are kept.

"You've got to be concerned about the pantry and refrigerator area," Sokol said. "You have to be concerned about the garage and the outdoor area. You have to be concerned about the garbage cans and last but not least cabinets where chemicals are kept."

Back to your children, it's not just those things we mentioned you have to worry about it.

Every year more than 3,500 people in the U-S swallow button batteries. Those batteries are in everything from hearing aids, to watches, toys and even greeting cards.

If anyone ingests a batteries, you should call the National Battery Ingestion hotline at 202-625-3333. You should take that person to the doctor immediately.
There are also a few relatively new concerns that parents should be on the look out for including Bath Salts, which are powerful drugs that can cause hallucinations and violent behavior.
Energy Drinks can also be dangerous for teens and children. E-Cigarettes and those new laundry detergent packets should be put out of reach as well.

Parents, a helpful tip would be to post the Poison Control Hotline on your refrigerator so you never have to look it up. That number is 1-800-222-1222.

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