Children are notoriously curious. As a result, they have a tendency to get themselves into trouble. Unfortunately, unintentional poisoning is a serious issue that continues to affect far too many Canadian children every year. In fact, the Public Health Agency of Canada estimates an average of three deaths each year among children age 14 and younger, and an additional 900 hospitalizations, due to unintentional poisonings.
Medication is the leading cause of poisoning in children, as it is often left within arm’s reach. Even a small amount of adult medication can be toxic to a small child. Other common causes of poisoning are household cleaners and personal care products, such as nail polish remover.
How can you poison-proof your home? First and foremost, keep all potential hazards locked up, in a place where children cannot access them. Parachute Canada suggests that poisons such as cleaning supplies be stored in a high cupboard or cabinet, rather than under the sink.
All medications should be kept in their original, child-resistant packaging and stored in a place that is out of the child’s reach. Never leave purses or personal bags that contain even over-the-counter medication lying on the floor.
Parachute Canada also urges parents to avoid referring to any type of medication, even chewable tablets or gummy-bear vitamins, as “candy.” Kids should understand the difference between these medications and actual candy, even if they taste similar.
Finally, keep the number of your local poison control center near or saved on all phones so that you can access it quickly in case of an emergency. I’ve practiced personal injury law in Toronto for over 20 years; it’s nothing short of a tragedy when a child is accidentally poisoned, particularly in the home of his or her own loving parents.