BC Children’s Hospital and BC Centre for Disease Control are providing parents and guardians tips to prevent children from being poisoned with today marking the start of Safe Kids Week.
In British Columbia, more than half of all poisonings occur to children under six years of age. The most common causes of poisoning are medications, cleaning products and other everyday household items.The theme of this year’s national Safe Kids Week is “Out of Sight and Locked up Tight,” and the focus is to increase awareness about safely handling medications and other potentially poisonous products in the home.
Kathleen Wong, a mother of three, was frantic when her two year daughter, Kiana, swallowed diabetic medication, which the little girl mistakenly thought was candy, during a visit to grandpa and grandma’s house.
“I’m usually very careful about child-proofing our home, but we were visiting my parents, and Kiana had quietly pulled a chair over to the counter and had her grandfather’s pills in her hands. I could see that she had taken a bite out of a pill.”
Kathleen immediately contacted the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre, who determined the medication could seriously harm her young daughter and asked her to take Kiana to BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.
“It was a really frightening experience as a parent,” continues Kathleen. “I didn’t know it at the time, but it could have been fatal for Kiana.”
The BC Children’s Hospital and the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre have created several resources to help increase awareness about keeping kids safe from poisoning.
How to prevent poisoning in the home:
- Place safety latches on all drawers or cabinets containing harmful products.
- Use products that have child-resistant safety caps. However, be mindful that child-resistant caps are not 100 percent child-proof.
- Never call medicine “candy” and do not take medicine in front of children because they might copy you.
- Avoid the use of cleaning products when children are close by, and keep all products locked away.
- Keep products in their original containers. Make sure they are clearly labeled, so you know what your child may have ingested.
- Learn to identify poisonous household plants. Keep plants off the floor and away from crawling or walking children.
- To speak directly to a poison information specialist, have the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre number handy: 604-682-5050 or toll-free 1-800-567-8911.
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