How Nannies Can Protect Children From Household Poisons

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How Nannies Can Protect Children From Household Poisons

Young children explore the world by touching and tasting, therefore leaving the little ones unattended for even a moment increases the risk of poisoning. Various types of poisoning are very common among young children, so it is important to know what precautions you should take in order to avoid problems and protect children from household poisons.

Don’t forget the pills

Two-thirds of poisoning in children can be held accountable for different medications. Common drugs are twice as toxic as detergents, cosmetics and pesticides.

Prescribed drugs, such as heart and blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, sleeping pills, diabetic drugs and analgesics are highly dangerous.

drug intoxicationAny medication in high dose may increase the risk of danger. It is true for the most common painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, cough and anti-cold medicines, and even vitamins.

Pills can be easily accessible for children because parents mistakenly believe that childproof caps are unbeatable. Long-term medications are often left unattended on cupboards by adults. This can be dangerous for children who often confuse pills with candy since they are similar in shape and color. By the way, never call medicine candy and do not take medicine in front of a child, because they love to imitate.

Mind the ‘Not for Kids’ warning label

We are surrounded by way more chemicals that may cause problems. All cleaning products must be considered hazardous, including hypo, disinfectants or furniture polish. Tobacco can be lethal if swallowed by a child, not to mention alcohol which is surprisingly toxic. Oil paints, turpentine, car polishers, gasoline are just a few of the dangerous toxins that the child can easily find in the garage or tool shed.

Many poisonings occur when a parents or nannies is using a harmful product. If you are using such a product and the doorbell or phone rings, do not leave the product unattended – take it with you or place all cleaning products, cosmetics and any other potentially harmful substances in very high places where the child will not be able to reach or in a closed cabinet. Cabinet locks are available for most any type of kitchen cabinet.

Not all greenery is good

We love indoor plants: they are pleasing to look at, purify the air or may be edible. Even if they are harmless to adults, there are many plants that can be dangerous for children who put everything into their mouth.

When children start to crawl and explore the world around them with tireless curiosity, we should make some reasonable changes to make the apartment safer so as to prevent avoidable accidents, inconveniences, or possibly more severe poisonings.


Since the little ones often begin to get acquainted with their surroundings through their mouth, it is particularly important not to give them the opportunity to have access to dangerous plants. Hiding the plant on top of a cabinet might not be ideal for its lighting needs, therefore always think ahead when choosing your “room decor.”

Some common houseplants can make children sick to varying degrees. Here are a few examples:

Philodendron is a typical resident of homes. It’s meticulous and spectacular green leaves probably do not miss the attention of little children. Philodendrons have both aerial and subterranean roots. Eating the aerial roots can cause burning or inflammation in the mouth and throat. You should not let the little ones play around ficus since it can cause stomach problems, diarrhea or vomiting if ingested. All parts of oleander are extremely toxic. From the stems to the seeds, the leaves to the flowers,– and whether eaten, licked or chewed, it can cause irritation, vomiting and diarrhea. Croton is also a common indoor plant. The leaves and stems contain toxic substances, which can lead to allergic skin irritations, vomiting or diarrhea.

If you still want to have plants in the house, consider keeping the plants out of reach and inaccessible. Do not forget that plants lose leaves and berries and if ingested can make children very sick.

The good thing is, no one home have to be plant-free. There are many beautiful and safe plants available in the market. Always do research before bringing a beautiful new plant into your home.
Keep it in mind the same is true when bringing home cut flowers. Many cut flowers are extremely hazardous. For example irises and lilies.

Simple steps for prevention

  • Keep all detergents, cleaning solutions in a closed cabinet, high cabinet or on the top shelf, up and away from children.
  • Never use empty milk or juice cartons to store cleaning supplies.
  • Tool sheds, garages and workrooms should always be kept closed. Hazardous things are to be stored in a closed cabinet.
  • Keep dangerous cosmetics and all the medications in their original containers in the medicine compartment.
  • Keep the home and garden free from poisonous plants.


What NOT TO DO in case of emergency

  • Do not panic!
  • Fluids such as milk, juice, fizzy drinks or alcohol should not be given to the child. This type of drinks may further irritate the stomach or increase the risk of poisoning.
  • Do not induce vomiting if the child has lost consciousness because inhaling the vomit into their lungs can become a secondary problem.
  • Do not induce vomiting in case of acid and alkali poisoning – if the child has swallowed hypo, drain cleaner, or petroleum. These chemicals can cause burning as they are swallowed and secondary burns as they come back up.
  • Do not induce vomiting if it has been over two hours since the child ingested a potential toxin. Once a substance enters the intestine, vomiting will not clear the stomach of that toxin.


You ate what?! – First aid for poisoning

If there is a suspicion of poisoning, the child swallows any pills, tobacco, alcohol or poisonous plant parts, remove the remains of the poisonous substance from their mouth. When the child vomits, try to keep them laying on their stomach or on their side as much as possible.

Contact the doctor or poison center immediately. Be sure both phone numbers are highlighted in the phonebook, saved in mobile phones. This can save you valuable time in the case of emergency.

Providing the following information can help the doctor in assessing the danger:

  • the child’s weight and sex
  • the precise description of the substance
  • the text on the label (if available)
  • the maximum amount of the consumed substance
  • the child’s symptoms.

However, most children who come in contact with the above-mentioned things are not permanently hurt if they are treated right away.

Do you have anything important to add, comments or suggestions that may help nannies to be prepared for such situations? Have you ever been to a poisoning emergency? Let us know in a comment below!

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Andrea Hetesi

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