You’re probably aware that certain cleaning supplies are poisonous to children. You may also be familiar with lead poisoning, which was commonly found in paint and is still in some homes built before 1978. But there is something many women carry with them every day that also presents dangers to children.
It’s in your purse. If you’re a dad, it could be in your backpack.
The items lurking in your purse can be potentially harmful to children. Young children like to use all of their senses to learn about their world, including putting things in their mouth to taste and feel. As with any poison, once in your system, it can cause a lot of problems.
Take a look at this list and see if you’re carrying these items.
- Coins. The smaller the coin, the more likely it can pass through the child’s system. But coins can get stuck anywhere along the way; in the throat, exiting the stomach, and in the intestines. Once stuck, it becomes a very dangerous situation.
- Alcohol. Everything from perfumes to hand sanitizer contains alcohol. And the color combined with the nice fragrance makes tasting very tempting. The smaller the child, the more likely that alcohol poisoning can occur. Children may vomit, have a seizure or become unconscious.
- Small, button size batteries. Although putting any battery in your mouth isn’t safe, the smaller batteries are especially harmful. Not everyone carries these but if you’ve picked up replacements for a watch or hearing aid, you know how tiny they are. Children can easily swallow or put them inside their noses. And the chemicals that make batteries work are very dangerous to children.
- Toothpaste. This may seem harmless enough. But it’s not meant to be swallowed. The same chemicals that prevent tooth decay and make your teeth whiter are dangerous in the stomach. When mixed with stomach juices, toothpaste can cause nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure.
- Medication. Pills that look like candy are very tempting to little ones. The safety caps are a good start but not fool-proof. Even common medicine like allergy tablets or vitamins can be harmful when taken by children in the wrong dosage. Always keep medications in their original, child-resistant container.
- Nicotine. If you smoke or you’re trying to quit with nicotine gum, these items are poisonous to young children. A small child, like a toddler or young pre-school age, can suffer nicotine poisoning from just one cigarette. A child who has nicotine poison will have symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting to weakness, tremors, and convulsions. It can even cause abnormal heart rhythms and death.
There are many more items that present dangers: pepper spray, eye drops, hand cream, and baby powder just to name a few. Take a look at the contents of your purse and see if you are carrying any of these items.
The best cure to any of these dangers is prevention. If you are carrying anything that would harm a child, close your handbag or backpack and put it up out of reach. If you are visiting a home with young children, be sure to keep the purse near you and closed at all times.
If you think your child has swallowed anything that could be poisonous, call the Poison Control Center for help 1-800-222-1222. They will tell you what to do and if you should go to the hospital.