How to prevent curious kids from accessing potential poisons

Metro Service
From crawling infants to young children, many common household items can be accessible and potentially harmful.

■ Metro Service

Poisonous substances can be deadly and many substances found in a typical home can be characterized as poisonous. While adults may know to avoid ingesting potentially toxic substances, curious youngsters rarely do, making household poisons an especially significant threat to young children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that roughly three million people swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance every year. Many of those people are under the age of five. Curiosity in youngsters is a good thing, indicating that they are interested in their surroundings and looking to learn how the world around them works. Nurturing that curiosity is important for kids’ development. But it’s also important that parents take steps to prevent curious kids from accessing any number of potentially poisonous substances found in your average household.

1. Install safety latches or locks on cabinets and drawers. Safety latches or childproof locks can prevent curious youngsters from accessing cabinets, drawers and other areas where cleaning products, medicines and any substances that are toxic or potentially harmful may be stored. Latches and locks are an inexpensive way to prevent children from accessing harmful chemicals, but parents should periodically check the locks to ensure they’re all still working properly.

2. Store medications safely out of the reach of children. Young children may see their parents taking medication and mistakenly assume the pills are candy. Storing pills in locked cabinets, top dresser drawers, and on the top shelves of medicine cabinets can keep curious youngsters intent on mimicking mom and dad from taking adult medications. Make sure medications are also stored in bottles with childproof caps.

3. Take medicines out of kids’ view. When taking pills or medicine, parents should try to do so when children are not looking. Parents can turn their backs before taking pills, so kids cannot see them.

4. Discard old medications. Many people do not finish their medications. Adults who do not intend to or need to finish their medications should discard the pills once they stop taking them. Consult with prescription information papers to determine the safest way to dispose of unwanted and/or expired medications. Simply placing them in the garbage might not be safe, as curious kids may find old pills in bathroom or bedroom garbage cans and mistake them for candy. If necessary, parents can call their local police departments to see if they have a drug collection program.

5. Store lawn and garden items in locked sheds or on high shelves in the garage. Items used to tend to lawns and gardens such as fertilizers, some plants, and gas cans should be stored where children looking for their toys or bicycles cannot find them. Additionally, items that are not poisonous but potentially harmful, such as pruning shears, should be stored beyond kids’ reach.

Many substances around the house can be harmful to curious children. Taking measures to safeguard kids from such substances can ensure they are not poisoned.

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