Tag Archive for 'medicine'

Warning: Keep Out of Reach of Children

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Every year, U.S. poison centers take over 2 million calls related to poison exposures in people, and over 50% of those calls are for children under the age of 5. The most common substances involved are painkillers, cosmetics and personal care products, and household cleaning products; and overwhelmingly, poison exposures occur in the home (over 90%).

Most incidents are resolved over the phone, but there are occasions where a child may need to be taken to the ER. For instance, more than 60,000 children under age 5 are treated in the ER each year due to accidental medication poisoning.

My little sister was one of those children years ago. Nana was visiting and had put her purse away in the bedroom closet where she’d been staying, but when little sis went down for her nap one afternoon she got into what she thought was Nana’s “candy” instead. My poor little sister ended up in the ER getting charcoal treatment and her stomach pumped. Fortunately, she came away from it unscathed, but I’m sure everyone was terrified and scarred.

This type of occurrence happens more often than you might think, and so often pills are indistinguishable from candy. I came across this cute and catchy little video that may help our kids learn that they should always STOP and ASK FIRST before they want to touch something or put something in their mouths that doesn’t belong to them:

Of course, ultimately, we don’t want our children to ever find themselves in these situations, and so poison-proofing our homes is the best prevention tool. Below are helpful tips for poison prevention as well as treatment if you suspect poisoning has occurred.
What are the potential dangers in your home?

Any of these common household products could seriously harm a child if ingested:
  • Bath and kitchen disinfectants and sanitizers, including bleach
  • Household cleaning or maintenance products, such as drain cleaner, paints, or glues
  • Automotive products stored around the home, such as anti-freeze or windshield washer fluid
  • Health or beauty care products such as medicines, mouthwash, hair and nail products
  • Roach sprays and baits
  • Insect repellents
  • Rat and other rodent poisons
  • Weed killers
  • Products used to kill mold or mildew
  • Flea and tick shampoos, powders, and dips for pets
  • Batteries
  • Alcohol
  • Indoor or outdoor plants
  • Swimming pool chemicals


What can you do to prevent accidental poisoning?
  • Regardless of the item of concern, keep it UP, AWAY, and OUT OF SIGHT. Even if you have items in an upper cabinet, it’s a good idea to use a cabinet lock to keep your little climbers or older children out.
  • Be prepared in case of emergency. Program the Poison Control Help number, 1-800-222-1222, into your home and cell phones. If you suspect your child has ingested something dangerous, contact Poison Help right away.
  • Ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • If you live in an older home, particularly a home built before 1978, have your home and children tested for lead.
  • Do not keep poisonous plants in your home or yard.
  • Teach your child to STOP and ASK FIRST before they touch something or put anything in their mouths that does not belong to them.
  • Put medicines and vitamins away every time, even between dosing.
  • Always relock the safety cap. Twist until you hear the click.
  • Explain to children what medicine is and that only you can give it to them.
  • Never tell a child that medicine tastes like candy in an attempt to get them to take it.
  • Never give a child medicine in the dark. Turn the light on and read the instructions to ensure proper dosing.
  • Ask house guests and visitors to keep their coats and bags out of reach when they are in your home. Don’t put it past kids to get past child-resistant packaging (not child-proof, mind you).
  • Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically, and safely dispose of any medicines such as prescriptions when no longer needed. Check with your locality as many hold take-back events as an alternative to flushing pharmaceuticals down the drain.
  • Don’t throw medications away in open trash containers where a child might be able to get to them.
Pesticides and Household Chemical Products
  • Use the safest possible pesticides and cleaning products. There are many natural and nontoxic alternatives that can be found with a simple search online.
  • Always store them in a locked cabinet, preferably out of reach.
  • Place Mr Yuk stickers on potentially poisonous products to help your kids decipher undesirables. Information to request a free sheet or purchase more is available here.
  • Remember the BEFORE, WHILE, AFTER rule: BEFORE using a product, read the instructions. WHILE using a product, never leave it alone. AFTER using a product, lock it up.
  • If a spillage occurs, clean it up immediately.
  • Do not transfer products to other containers, particularly containers that could be mistaken for food or drink. You will want to have the original label and instructions in the case of accidental poisoning.
  • Remove children, pets, toys, bottles, and pacifiers from the area before applying pesticides inside or outside the home.  Follow label directions to determine when it is safe for children and pets to return to the area.
  • Choose nontoxic art supplies.
  • Keep the dishwasher door closed, and only fill with detergent when ready to use.


What if you suspect your child has been poisoned?
If you suspect your child has been poisoned, you need to act quickly.
Signs of Poisoning
  • An open or spilled bottle of pills or cleaning product, or suspicious stains on your child’s mouth or clothing
  • A burn or rash on the lips, mouth or skin
  • Burns, stains, or smell of chemicals on your child or his or her clothing
  • Unexplained nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Inexplicable amounts of drooling
  • An unusual odor on his or her breath
  • Headache, dizziness, confusion, or blurred vision - your child can’t follow you with their eyes
  • Bluish lips, coughing, throat pain, or difficulty breathing
  • Seizures, convulsions, or unconsciousness (in extreme cases)
What to do
If you suspect that your child has been poisoned, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Even if your child has no symptoms, it can’t hurt to call poison control. Better safe than sorry.
If your child is having serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, seizures, or is unconscious, call 911 immediately.
If your child is awake and stable, take certain measures first and then call the poison control hotline: 1-800-222-1222.
  • Swallowed poison - Do not try to make your child vomit. You may do more harm bringing the poison back up. Sweep your child’s mouth and remove any visible poison. Rinse out and wipe your child’s mouth with a cloth. Call poison control.
  • Poison on the skin - Remove contaminated clothing, while avoiding any more contact with the chemical. Flood the skin with lukewarm running water. Wash gently with soap and water and rinse. Call poison control.
  • Poison in the eye - Wrap your child in a towel with arms placed at his or her sides under the towel, and place them on a flat surface so you can control them safely. Hold the eyelid open, and drip room temperature water or normal saline over the bridge of the nose for 15 minutes. Call poison control.
  • Inhaled poison - Get your child to fresh air. Open doors and windows if safe to do so. Begin artificial respiration if they’re not breathing. Call 911.
  • Stings and bites - Remove the sting if present, and wash the affected area with soap and warm water. Pat dry. Call poison control.
When you speak with poison control or 911, be prepared to provide the following information:
  • your child’s age, height, and weight
  • existing health conditions
  • substance and label information
  • how the substance entered the body
  • first aid given
  • has your child vomited
  • your location and distance to the nearest hospital

For more information:
American Association of Poison Control Centers
Poison Prevention.Org

Double Check your Children’s Medicine

On Friday Johnson & Johnson issued a recall of all OTC (over-the-counter) Children’s and Infants’ liquid products manufactured in the United States and distributed in the United States, Canada, and several other countries (for a full list of countries and/or product details, go to http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/page.jhtml?id=/include/new_recall.inc).

The recall is asserting that these liquid medicines have “manufacturing deficiencies” that may affect the potency, purity or quality of the products.  When I called to check whether my products were on the recall list, I found out that all four (4) of my products were affected.  Since two of my bottles (Infant’s Tylenol and Infant’s Motrin) were nearing expiration, I was alarmed and worried about what I had been giving my daughters.  When I asked the recall hotline for more details and whether I should be concerned, the man read me a very generic statement from the public recall message saying that “some” of these products might have too much of the active ingredient, while “others” might have too little of the active ingredient.  Even worse, he mentioned that “some” of these products might have tiny particles in them! 

The man continued to regurgitate some generic statements about how the company is doing a “comprehensive quality assessment of their manufacturing operations” and that I would be receiving four replacement coupons for the four tainted products.  He then said that I needed to dispose of these products in a very specific manner and to not drain them down the toilet or sink.  Instead, I was to pour them into a Ziploc bag, with a little water and coffee grounds, seal up the bag and throw it in the trash.

Here’s what to do if you have non-expired Infant’s or Childrent’s Tylenol, Motrin, Benedryl or Zyrtec in your medicine cabinet:

1)       Find out if your products are on the list.

Check this website (http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/page.jhtml?id=/include/new_recall.inc) or call this number (1-888-222-6036) (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time, and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time) to check the product’s lot numbers.

2)       Notify the company.

Call 1-888-222-6036 or go to http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/  so that you can get coupons to replace the products that you have to dispose of.   Note:  It will take 4-6 weeks to receive your coupons after you call the hotline.

3)       Dispose of your tainted products carefully.

Pour all affected products into a Ziploc bag, add a cup or two of coffee grounds and a little bit of water.  Zip up the bag and toss it in the trashcan.

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