The number of young children getting into things around the house that can be harmful is staggering. Recent data show that out of 2 million calls to poison control centers, nearly half concerned kids age 6 and under. Consumer Reports tells you which household products are the riskiest and what you can do to prevent your child from accidentally consuming a dangerous substance.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit group, more than 2,800 kids per year in the U.S. are treated in ERs after swallowing nickel-sized batteries. Consumer Reports suggests that toys and other household electronics have battery compartments secured with a screwdriver or other method. Button-cell batteries are small flat batteries that look like coins. They can become a choking hazard, and asphyxiation may occur.
There are more dangers in your house you might not even think about. Exposure to cosmetics and personal care products were the most common reasons for reports to poison control centers for children under 6. Many of them contain ethanol, which is the same type of alcohol you find in alcoholic beverages. Just a small amount can cause a young child of, say, 25 pounds or less to become extremely intoxicated.
Also dangerous: cleaning products. When it comes to these items, you can do more than just store them out of the reach of children. Keep cleaners and other products in the containers in which they were bought because they usually have child-resistant closures.
As for those colorful laundry detergent pods that can look like candy? Consumer Reports recommends not even having them in the house if you have young kids.
Remember that even if you put some of these products in a higher place, a curious child may use a chair to reach them. If you suspect that your child has ingested some kind of toxic product, call the national Poison Help Hotline at 800-222-1222 (available 24 hours a day) and call 911 if you see that your child has fainted, doesn’t wake up, or is bleeding.
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