poisoning in children

Poisoning in Children

Poisoning among children is more common than you think. Although common, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Poison is a substance that causes illnesses, injury, and even death. It can be swallowed, absorbed through the skin, and inhaled. Typically, harmless substances should be ingested in a large number of quantities for the poison to be intoxicating. However, there are certain substances that require only a small amount of doses. One of the significant problems in America is poisoning. It is the number one cause of unintentional injury death which surpasses vehicular accidents. A poison can be in solid, liquid, or gas form.

U.S Statistics of Poisoning in Children

Nearly 2.12 million Americans are exposed to poison in 2017 alone. That’s 6.4 poison exposures for every 1000 Americans, for every 1000 children, 40 are exposed to poison exposures, and for every 15 seconds, 1 American gets poison exposure.

Ages affected with Poisoning in Children

  • Below 6 years old: 45.2%
  • 6-12 years old: 6.3%
  • Teens: 8.1%

Risk Factors of Poisoning in Children

As children, they are natural explorers. They tend to get curious easily especially if they see something new. In the case of poisoning, children usually ingest minimal doses and aren’t life-threatening. However, when exposed to certain types of medicines and household chemicals, even in small doses, it can lead to serious illness and even death.

Poison Treatment Tips

There’s so much you can do to ensure your child’s safety when it comes to different types of poisoning. If your child is unconscious, not breathing, or experiencing convulsions or seizures because of poison ingestion or contact, call 911 immediately.

Methods of poisoning and their immediate treatments

Ingested poison. Immediately take away the item from the child and have them spit out any remaining substance but don’t force your child to vomit. Never use syrup of ipecac.

Swallowed battery. Seek treatment immediately as soon as your child has swallowed a button-cell battery or if a battery has lodged in his or her throat, nose, or ears. In just two hours, serious tissue damage can occur.

Poisonous fumes. Let your child inhale fresh air immediately. If your child has stopped breathing, perform CPR and do not stop until your child starts breathing on their own again.

Eye poison. Hold on your child’s eyelid open and pour a steady stream of room temperature water into the inner corner for 15 minutes.

Skin poison. Remove your child’s clothes and rinse the infected skin with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.

Prevention Tips

Did you know that more than 90 percent of poisoning happens inside a household? They occur mostly in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. This is extremely important to follow a few simple steps to prevent poisoning especially if you have kids at home.

#1 Medicines

  • Make sure the medicines are inside their original containers with proper labels and store them appropriately.
  • Ensure that all medicines, especially the poisonous or dangerous substances are safely inside the locked cabinets or out of reach from your children.
  • Never ever share prescription drugs because one drug may be poisonous to another.

#2 Household products

  • Never use food containers to store other household chemicals and cleaners or other products.
  • Keep household chemicals and products inside their original containers.
  • Keep all your household chemicals and cleaners in locked cabinets to keep them out of your children’s reach.
  • Never mix household or chemical products together. By doing so, it could potentially create a dangerous gas.

#3 School and art supplies

  • Keep your kid’s school and art supplies inside their original containers.
  • Wash your child’s skin after using their school and art supplies.
  • Clean equipment, wipe tables, desks, and counters.
  • There are art products who are mixtures of chemicals. These can be dangerous if not used correctly so make sure your kids use their art products safely by reading and following directions.

#4 Animals and insects

  • Be informed of any poisonous snakes or animals that live around your area and wear proper attire when you hike outdoors.
  • Always check the labels of all the insect repellents. Remember that most of these repellents contain DEET, which is poisonous in large quantities.

#5 Food

  • Before preparing any kind of food, wash your hand, counters, and food.
  • Always use clean utensils for cooking and serving.
  • Properly store food at their specific temperatures. For refrigerated foods, it shouldn’t be left in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees F.

#6 Berries, mushrooms, and plants

  • Make sure that everyone in your family, especially your kid/s, can identify poisonous mushrooms and plants.
  • For poison ivies, always remember, “leaves of three, let it be”.

If you have any questions about this subject or have other concerns, call our pediatricians at (559) 728-4133 for their Fresno office and at (559)673-6085 for their Madera office.