10 Surprising Poison to Keep Out of Your Baby’s Hands

Do you know that more than 1 million children under age 6 are victims of accidental poisoning? I am quite surprised that in most cases, the actual causes of poisoning are something that we can easily overlook. Some of the causes are something that we use daily and consider as not dangerous in nature.

To tell you the truth, I am quite guilty by putting our medicine in an unlocked drawer and some of them even lay around on top of my dressing table. I always keep telling my eldest daughter than she can not touch or play with our medicine as they are very dangerous and poisonous. So far she has never played with them, but I guess I have to be more careful.

Here are some of the hazardous substances most commonly ingested by children under age 6:

• cosmetics and personal care products, such as mouthwash, nail products, hair remover, and baby oil (never leave baby oil or similar products within your baby's reach — in a few cases, infants have died from getting baby oil in their lungs)

• prescription drugs such as heart and blood pressure medications, antidepressants, sleeping pills, diabetes medications, pain medications, and time-release medications . Never refer medicine as candy to your children.

• cleaning products, including drain cleaner, oven cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, bleach, dishwasher detergent, furniture polish, and rust remover

• pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which are poisonous when taken in large doses (never give a child aspirin, as it can lead to Reye's syndrome, a rare brain and liver disease that can be fatal)

• cough and cold medicines

• vitamin supplements, especially iron pills

• household plants, especially philodendron and holly berries

• paint thinner, paint remover, kerosene, lighter fluids, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid

• pesticides

• alcohol



Signe said...

I'd like to add pet food...my nephew choked twice on their dog food as a young toddler. Luckily we knew how to help him, but it was sacry

Jeff said...

Thanks for the list

As a dad and a doctor, I find children's cough medicine a very scary topic. I used to think that as long as my patient’s or I dosed the children’s cold & cough medications right, then everything would be OK. But when I researched this further, it turns out that children have died from “over dose” of ALL THE MAJOR CHILDRENS COLD AND COUGH MEDICINES even when given the correct dose (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/108/3/e52?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=cough+medications&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT).

Here are a few interesting facts:

1. Last October 2008, the drug companies promised the FDA that they would change all their labeling to say “do not use” for children under the age of 2, but I was just in the store last week, and a number of packages still had the old labeling!

2. The FDA reviewed safety and effectiveness data this last fall and its expert panel said that “right now the current cold & cough medications should not be given to children under 6.” Here is a link to the FDA’s minutes, “http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/07/minutes/2007-4323m1-Final.pdf”, see page 6. The FDA made a public advisory in January 2008 about never using it for children under 2, because the Drug companies are fighting them on the panels ruling to never use cold and cough medications on children 2 to 6. Since these drugs were previously allowed by the FDA, the FDA is forced to go though “due process” before they are willing to make an official public statement about never giving these medications to children 2 to 6.

3. The number of infant deaths attributed to cold and cough medicines is dramatically underreported. New research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics demonstrated that there were at least “10 unexpected infant deaths that were associated with cold-medication” in 2006 alone in the state of Arizona. Extrapolated over the US and Canadian population, that would be over 500 deaths a year associated with cold-medication! (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/122/2/e318)

The thing that the drug companies don’t want anyone to know is that these medications never underwent the rigorous safety and effectiveness studies modern medications have to go though, they we grandfathered in the early 1970’s because at that time experts felt like they seemed to work, and they seemed safe enough.

Interestingly, some researchers from Penn State have shown that Buckwheat honey is better then the OTC drugs for children’s cough. There is a web site that talks about this, and gives lots of research to help parents be better informed about how to help their kids. Check out http://www.honeydontcough.com/