Poison Proof Your Garage
More than half of the 2 million poison exposures that occur annually involve children under the age of 6. Poisoning exposure in children primarily results from toxic substances stored in and around the home. Summertime brings added risk of exposure to lawn and garden chemicals, pesticides, insect sprays, gasoline, washer fluid, antifreeze, and petroleum products stored in garages and sheds.
Because of their small size, rapid metabolisms, proximity to the ground, tendency toward increased hand-to-mouth activity, and lack of awareness of environmental dangers, children are at increased risk of harmful effects from exposure to pesticides and other harmful substances. Because brain and nervous system development are at critical stages during infancy and childhood, children’s exposure to household poisons can have long term, life-altering affects.
How you can help protect children:
- look at your home and garage from a child’s viewpoint-be sure potentially dangerous substances are stored out of reach and out of sight
- store items in their original containers-many dangerous items can be attractive to children and may look like good things to eat or drink
- put products away right after you use them-leaving items out while you answer the phone, mow the lawn, or perform some other task provides an opportunity for exposure
- don’t assume that neighbors, babysitters, grandparents or other caregivers have child-proofed their homes and garages
- clear children and toys from the yard before using pesticides and fertilizers-residues can remain on toys for days and be accidentally ingested by children who handle them
- when possible, apply insect sprays to clothing, rather than bare skin; avoid applying insect sprays around children’s eyes or mouths or on hands
What to do if your child is exposed:
- If you think your child has been poisoned, call the national Poison Control Center hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or call your doctor or 911 immediately.
- have product information from the label on hand as well as information about the child’s age, height and weight
Adapted from information prepared by the Rainbow Community Safety & Resource Center, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Children’s Environmental Health Network
For more information:
Go to the Children’s Health health topic.