Approximately 50 percent of calls into poison centers involve children under the age of six. The following is a list of things that make this age group so vulnerable:
- Natural Curiosity: Young children are naturally curious and typically “learn by trying.” If they come upon something that is new, they are naturally inclined to not only want to look, but to touch, smell and/or taste. It is the adult's responsibility to make sure that items within their reach will not harm them.
- Imitation: Young children try their hardest to imitate the adults in their lives, but they are not always successful. Sometimes they will attempt to take medication on their own or mistake a household cleaner or alcoholic drink for soda or juice.
- Improper Storage: Leaving products on the counter or table between uses will increase the likelihood that a child will get into it.
- Lack of Supervision: Children will get into things they shouldn't when an adult is not paying attention. This includes when adults are cooking, answering the door or phone, taking a shower or visiting with friends.
- Look-Alikes: Medicines can look like candy to young children. Liquid cleaners can look like drinks.
Most poisonings are unintentional and preventable. Here are simple steps to protect young children:
Have an age appropriate conversation with young children:
- “Always ask (an adult) before touching, tasting or smelling anything.”
- “Only take medicine from safe adults.”
Lock medicines and household products in a safe place away from children. Placing items on high shelves in not sufficient. Children climb!
Take medicines when/where children are not watching. Children learn by imitating.
Put the number for the Indiana Poison Center (IPC) on or near every telephone in the house: 1.800.222.1222. It is also a good idea to program it into every working cell phone.
Be sure babysitters and others caring for your children have the phone number posted in their homes.