You finish a tough day of work with a splitting headache. The search for painkillers begins. As you rifle through your bathroom drawers, you finally spot the elusive pill-box and turn its contents out onto the counter, only to find a variety of pills with different colours, shapes, and sizes.
You wonder, “is ibuprofen white or red?”
A quick internet search led you to find the right pill, but not before your child’s sticky little finger tried to pull the pills off the counter for a closer look…
Did you know that seventy-five percent of childhood poisonings involve substances that are in use at the time, or are not kept in their usual storage place? Leaving medications within reach of small children, even a few seconds, can have serious consequences. More than half of all poisonings in British Columbia involve young children, with those between one and three years at highest risk!
Remember, it’s not just prescriptions we have to worry about, it’s also over-the-counter medicines and those edible cannabis products you might have lying around the home.
So, before you think poisoning only happens to other people and other kids, have a word with yourself.
Here are some reminders to protect yourself, and your loved ones, from unintentional poisoning:
- Keep dangerous products locked up, out of sight and out of reach of children.
- Keep medicines in the original labelled containers.
- Read the instructions on medications and consult your doctor before taking something new.
- Check with your pharmacist to understand how your medications may interact with each other. Keep an up-to-date list of all medications and supplements you are taking.
- Save the B.C. Poison Control Centre number (604-682-5050 & 1-800-567-8911) or post it in a visible place in your home.
- Children often copy adults, so avoid taking medicine in front of a child. Never call medicine “candy”.
- Avoid the use of cleaning products when children are close by.
- Keep all cigarettes, butts and ashtrays away from children.
- Keep cleaning solutions in their original, clearly labeled containers.
- Ensure that visitors to your home place their purses, bags, etc. out of reach of children.
- Learn to identify poisonous household plants. Crawling or walking children can reach plants kept on the floor. Labelling plants with their exact name is helpful if one is ingested by a child or pet.
- Safety latches on all drawers or cabinets containing harmful products and use products that have child-resistant safety caps can give you peace of mind. Be aware that child-resistant caps are not child-proof.
- Install Canadian-certified smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home and have gas appliances serviced regularly to prevent CO exposure.
Here are some helpful resources: