Safeguard Your Home from Emerging Poisoning Risks

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While kids getting into bottles of pain medicine remains a leading cause of poisonings, new and different serious risks have emerged.

Laundry_PacketsNew single-load liquid laundry packets look like candy, toys or teethers, but they are dangerous for children. This isn’t the liquid laundry detergent from your childhood. These packets are filled with highly concentrated, toxic chemicals. Wet hands, water and saliva can quickly dissolve these packets, releasing the chemicals.

In 2012, CPSC staff learned of more than 500 incidents involving children and adults who were injured by these packets. If you use these packets in your home, always handle them with dry hands and keep them out of sight and reach of children. CPSC is encouraged that the manufacturers of laundry packets are developing improved warning labels, making their product packaging less attractive to children, and have committed to implement a comprehensive consumer awareness campaign.  However, CPSC seeks additional design changes to all types of packages containing laundry packets that will make individual packets less accessible to children. You should start seeing safety alerts in stores soon that alert you to important laundry packet safety concerns.

coin- or button-sized batteriesIf you have any type of electronics in your home, you likely have coin- or button-sized batteries.  They are in remote controls, electronic games, toys, musical cards, hearing aids and other common electronic products. These small batteries pack a powerful —and deadly—punch. These batteries can cause life-threatening chemical burns inside the body in as little as two hours. Incidents often involve children younger than 4 and senior adults. Even completely dead batteries have enough residual power left in them to cause serious injuries.

While improvements are in the works to prevent people from suffering burn injuries if they ingest a battery, please take immediate steps to safeguard your children right now do the following:

  • Check your electronics’ battery compartments and tighten with a screw.
  • For battery compartments that do not use a screw, try securing them with strong tape.
  •  Put any item with an unsecured button battery up and out of both the sight and reach of a child.
  • When the batteries die, make sure to throw them out in a way that children can’t retrieve them.
  • Also, make sure to buy the correct-size replacement battery so you don’t have any batteries lying around that you don’t need.
  • Finally, don’t store a remote control on top of un-anchored televisions or furniture. That creates a different, significant hazard of TV tipovers for your child.

CPSC is encouraged that the coin and button cell industry is developing more secure packaging and taking additional steps to try to keep the products away from young children. However, CPSC is looking to see design changes that eliminate the serious chemical burn injuries that often occur upon ingestion.

Here are other poison prevention tips, which can help you provide a safe environment for your children to explore.

  1. Keep medicines and household chemicals in their original, child-resistant containers.
  2. Store potentially hazardous substances up and out of a child’s sight and reach.
  3. Keep the national Poison Help Line number, 800-222-1222, handy in case of a poison emergency.
  4. When hazardous products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even if it means you must take them along when answering the phone or doorbell.
  5. Leave the original labels on all products, and read the labels before using the products.
  6. Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicine so you can see that you are administering the proper medicine, and be sure to check the dosage every time.
  7. Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as “medicine,” not “candy.”
  8. Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of unneeded and outdated medicines.
  9. Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where children can reach them. Lamp oil can be very toxic if ingested by children.

If you have a poison emergency, call the national Poison Help Line at (800) 222-1222.

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