Poison Prevention
March 15, 2010

Parents have been asking me to ingest lots of questions on what they can do to prevent accidental poisoning from occurring in their home. Well, it’s no accident that it’s National Poison Prevention Week, so let me see if I can provide some information on this topic.

Nearly 90% of all childhood poisonings happen in the home. If you don’t want your child to add to those statistics, you first need to understand a basic theme: children act fast, but so do poisons.

Here are some steps to take to stay ahead of your small child and prevent them from accessing potential toxins:

If your child has ingested something toxic, the signs will not be subtle. You are apt to see a change in behavior, extreme drowsiness, excessive drooling or vomiting, or detect an unusual odor on their breath. If you suspect that your child has gotten into something they shouldn’t have, and they are still alert, then stay calm and contact the Northeast Regional Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for further instructions. If they are not alert, then call 911 and have your child taken to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Hopefully you’ll find tips like this to be safe ones that are easy to swallow when it comes to knowing what you can do to prevent accidental poisonings in your home.

Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids" weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and on WCAX-TV Channel 3. Visit the First with Kids video archives at http://www.fletcherallen.org/firstwithkids