You’re a responsible parent. You childproof your home with locks on cupboard containing poisonous chemicals and keep your prescription medications safely out of your children’s reach. Controlling your home environment is simple. It’s the hazards outside of your home and control that are concerning.
Children and their penchant for curiosity makes them high-risks for poisonings. A child left unattended with access to chemicals or medications may try to ingest them. The wave of children eating laundry detergent pods was partially attributable to their candy-like appearance. A small child may not realize the difference between laundry soap and a treat.
A common killer
After falls, poisoning injuries are the second-leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations in Maryland. Sadly, poisonings were the leading cause of injury-related deaths in 2013. Maryland saw 282 unintentional poisoning accidents that resulted in nearly 9,000 years of productive life lost.
The fact that unintentional poisonings outpace poisoning homicides and suicides says that we have room for improvement. Here are a few more things beyond locking up chemicals and medications that you can do to reduce the likelihood of your child accidentally ingesting a poison:
- Educate your children. If your son or daughter is old enough to understand, teach them where potential poisons are, to stay away from them, and never ingest them. Certain poisons can look like food to an unsuspecting child.
- Talk to guests and babysitters. While you do your part to safeguard your home, guests or bringing your child to someone’s home can present new threats. Ensure that the home of anyone watching your child has their chemicals out of reach and that guests don’t leave their medications out.
- Have an emergency plan. The fact is that accidents happen, and you want to be prepared. Knowing whether to call the poison control hotline if they are conscious or 9-1-1 if they are unconscious is crucial. Let the operator know what the child ingested and when.
Accidents may happen but they are sometimes preventable. If someone unintentionally poisons your child because of their negligence, your family may be able to receive compensation for medical bills and even lost years of productive life in a worst-case scenario. No, a lawsuit won’t undo the poisoning but can assist your family in moving forward.