Almost 2,500 Australian children are admitted to hospital each year due to poisoning. Worryingly, it was common household products that were the most prevalent causes of poisoning among kids.
As parents or caretakers, most of us take precautions to minimise the risk of a child consuming or coming into contact with poisonous substances. But, as we all know accidents do happen and sometimes children get into places we might not have thought they were capable of, so it’s important that we all know how to provide First Aid for poisoning to minimise harm and reduce stress if an accident does happen.
When you become a parent or a caretaker you start to see the world through a different lens. You begin to notice hazards around the house that you may have overlooked before and you become particularly more mindful when it comes to storing medicine or products with harsh chemicals in the house. The most common products to cause poisoning among children in Australian households include:
If storing hazardous products in the home always do your due diligence to child-proof access to any chemicals on the premises. If you have just started a new family or are expecting kids in the home follow this checklist to ensure your house is kid safe from poisonous substances:
If common hazardous household products are consumed, inhaled or come in contact with the eye or skin it may result in the following signs and symptoms:
If a child is unexplainably displaying some of the above symptoms ask them if they may have come in to contact with a chemical substance, calmly reassure them that they won’t be in trouble and that they might need help. If your child is too young to understand what is happening observe the environment and look around the house to find any evidence that may point to the possibility of poisoning.
The Poisons Information Centre receives 180,000 calls a year and half are related to incidents involving kids. More than 30 per cent of hospitalisations due to poisoning throughout 2012-13 involved children and young people between the ages of 0-24 years.
If your child is in severe pain, vomiting, having difficulty breathing, suffers a seizure, is exhibiting signs of an anaphylactic reaction, is losing consciousness or is unconscious they may be suffering a severe case of poisoning.
First Aid for Poisoning (severe):
If your child is conscious, breathing normally, able to communicate and is not expressing or exhibiting severe pain or discomfort but are showing mild to moderate symptoms that point to possible poisoning call the Victorian Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26. The Victorian Poisons Information Centre will ask questions to gain a better understanding of the severity or likelihood it is in fact a case of poisoning and provide treatment advice or recommend calling for medical assistance.
First Aid for Poisoning (mild):
As parents or caretakers we do our best to child-proof our homes. But, every now and then kids somehow find their way into places we may have thought were inaccessible. If you’re starting a new family or regularly look after nieces, nephews, friends or neighbours children then the first thing you should do is child proof your home from poisonous products and learn how to provide First Aid for poisoning. Being ready for any poisoning situation is the best form of preparation, we all should be alert and aware around poisons.