Child Poisoning Prevention
REPRESENTING CHILDREN EXPOSED TO POISONOUS CHEMICALS
Every day, more than 300 children under the age of 19 are treated in emergency departments as a result of being poisoned – on average, two of those children die. Every home has caustic and poisonous products that can cause harm to young children. From cleaners to medicines, there is always a risk of unsupervised ingestion by a child. Adults are responsible for addressing dangerous premises when children are around.
CHILD POISONING STATISTICS
The following information was provided by the American Association of Poison Control Centers:
- 61% of the nearly 3 million poison exposures reported to poison control centers in 2014 involved children under the age of 19.
- Of those, 48% involved children under the age of 5.
- While many other types of unintentional injuries have decreased over time, unintentional poisonings have actually risen.
- As of 2009, drug poisonings deaths have exceeded both motor vehicle deaths and firearm deaths.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SUBSTANCES IN POISON EXPOSURE?
- Cosmetics and personal care products
- Cleaning products
- Topical preparations
- Cardiovascular drugs
HOW DO I PREVENT CHILD POISONING?
A common thing to remember when childproofing your home is that children will always look for new and interesting things to get into — which includes kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
With this in mind, it is extremely important that parents and caretakers store all medicines and household products in childproof cabinets at all times. It only takes a moment for a child to pick up a medicine bottle or chemical and cause harm to themselves.
Also, be sure to teach your children that medicine and household cleaners are not something to be played with. Sometimes parents and caretakers may call medicine adult “candy” to identify that it is only for grown-ups. This is not a good idea, as many children want to be “big kids” and do what adults do.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY CHILD CONSUMES A POISONOUS CHEMICAL?
The following advice is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Remain calm.
- Call 911 if you have a poison emergency and the victim has collapsed or is not breathing. If the victim is awake and alert, dial 1-800-222-1222. Try to have this information ready:
- the victim’s age and weight
- the container or bottle of the poison if available
- the time of the poison exposure
- the address where the poisoning occurred
- Stay on the phone and follow the instructions from the emergency operator or poison control center.
LEAD POISONING IN CHILDREN
There is no known identified safe blood lead level in children. Any amount of exposure can have long lasting harmful effects on a child’s health, according to the CDC.
Currently in the United States, there are 24 million homes that contain deteriorated lead-based paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. One out of every six of these houses are home to young children. The CDC estimates that 535,000 children in the United States between the age of 1 and 5 have lead poisoning (plumbism), which indicates blood lead levels high enough to damage their health.
Many lead poisonings are caused by lead you can’t see — according to the New York Department of Health, the number one source of childhood lead poisoning is dust from lead paint.
HOW CAN MY CHILD GET LEAD POISONING?
According to the CDC, lead can be found in several things in a child’s environment, including:
- Paint — Homes built before 1978, when lead-based paints were banned, probably contain lead-based paint. Lead-based paint can flake and turn into dust, allowing it to be consumed or breathed in.
- Water — Certain water pipes may contain lead.
- Toys — Lead can be found in some products, sometimes manufactured overseas, such as toys and jewelry.
- Candy — Imported candies from other countries may contain lead.
- Parent occupations — Some occupations involving working with lead-based materials or products, which can latch on to clothing and be brought home.
WHY IS LEAD DANGEROUS TO CHILDREN?
Serious health problems can occur if a child is exposed to lead at an early age. Some of the dangers include:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Slowed growth and development
- Learning and behavioral problems
- Speech and hearing issues
These problems can cause your child to have a lower IQ, have a decreased ability to pay attention, and underperform in school.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LEAD POISONING IN CHILDREN?
According to Mayo Clinic, here are ten symptoms of lead poisoning in children:
- Abdominal pain
- Developmental delay
- Eating things (such as paint chips) that aren’t food
- Hearing loss
- Learning disabilities
- Loss of appetite
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Weight loss
HOW TO ENSURE YOUR HOME IS LEAD-FREE FOR CHILDREN
There are steps you can take as parent to protect your child from the harmful effects of lead.
- If you live in a home built before 1978 — Older homes are more likely to have paint containing lead. Contact your local health department about testing paint and dust in your home for lead.
- Be careful when renovating — Common activities, such as sanding, cutting, and replacing windows can introduce lead dust into the air. Use contractors certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when planning a renovation.
- Stay on top of the latest toy recalls — Toys are sometimes recalled due to the presence of lead paint. Remove any recalled toys from your children and throw them away immediately. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website for the latest product recalls.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED CHILD POISONING INJURY ATTORNEY
At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and legal resources to handle your child’s injury case. If your child has been the victim of a poisoning due to the negligence of an individual, property owner, or company, call us today for a free legal consultation. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends.