Half of all calls made to poison control centers involve children under the age of 6. Toddlers and young children are curious and love to explore their surroundings. Most young children love to explore by putting household items in their mouths. Because their taste buds are immature and they don’t understand consequences, many young children will eat and/or taste things that might seem very unappealing or even disgusting to us as adults. Almost all household products can be poisonous in large amounts, which is why Poison Control Centers recommend keeping all harmful substances out of the reach of small children. Here are 8 things that are probably somewhere in your household that you probably did not know could be VERY harmful and extremely poisonous for your children. Many of these do not need to be ingested in large amounts to be life-threatening:
1) Baking Soda–In order for our bodies to function correctly our blood needs to be at a neutral pH level. Bicarbonate, one of the main components in baking soda is ‘basic’ (the opposite of ‘acidic’). Ingesting too much bicarbonate can cause the body to drastically change its pH level, which is very bad for you and especially bad for toddlers. Just 1 tablespoon of baking soda ingested by a toddler is enough to significantly upset and change their blood pH levels.
2) Salt–Table salt is sodium chloride. Sodium and chloride are both electrolytes; electrolytes are essential to our bodies. In fact, every cell in our body needs salt to function properly but did you know that 1 tablespoon of salt is enough to cause seizures in a toddler and just 2 tablespoons can be fatal?
3) Mouthwash–Many mouthwashes on the market carry the same dangerous ingredient: Ethanol. Ethanol is the same kind of alcohol found in beer, wine, etc. Alcohol is used in mouthwash because it kills the bacteria that causes bad breath. Mouthwash is appealing to children because it comes in pretty colors and is scented with mint or fruit. Ingesting mouthwash can cause nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, coma, and even death. Just 1 ounce of mouthwash can make a 25-pound toddler “drunk”, and 3-4 ounces can potentially cause death and blood sugar alterations.
4) E-cigarette/liquid nicotine solution–The American Association of Poison Control Centers has recently issued an alert about E-cigarettes and liquid nicotine solutions. Not only are these incredibly dangerous if ingested by a toddler, but they are also dangerous to handle. Liquid nicotine should never touch the skin of a child. They warn that the most significant symptoms of liquid nicotine ingestion are nausea and vomiting but many children have become very ill and even required hospitalization after ingesting liquid nicotine.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following steps:
Protect your skin when handling the products.
Always keep e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children.
Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.
If you think someone has been exposed to an e-cigarette or liquid nicotine, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
5) Laundry detergent packs–8,318 innocent children (all 5 and under) were exposed to single-load laundry detergent packets from January 1st-August 31st, 2015. This has prompted the American Association of Poison Control to issue a major alert to parents and caregivers. While ingesting regular detergent usually only yields minor stomach upset, single-load detergent packets seem to be very different. These highly concentrated packets can cause vomiting, wheezing, gasping, sleepiness, and major breathing problems. There have also been multiple deaths associated to the ingestion of single-load detergent packets. Children are attracted to their pretty colors and their resemblance to candies.
The experts at your local poison center urge parents and caregivers to:
Always keep detergent containers closed, sealed and stored up high, out of the reach of children.
Follow the instructions on the product label.
Call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately if you suspect a child has come in contact with this detergent.
6) Hand Sanitizer–The American Association of Poison Control has reported over 14,919 exposures to hand sanitizer in the first 8 months of 2015! Many hand sanitizers now smell like candy and/or food. Many of these hand sanitizers come laced with glitter and are made in pretty colors. All of these things make hand sanitizer very tempting to children. A child ingesting even more than just a taste is at risk for alcohol poisoning. Just like mouthwash, the main ingredient in hand sanitizer in Ethanol (alcohol). Most hand sanitizers are made of over 95% alcohol, a stronger concentration than that of most hard liquors. Wine only contains about 9-10% alcohol. Alcohol poisoning causes confusion, dizziness, vomiting, respiratory distress, and death.
7) Lamp Oil–Lamp oil is commonly found in decorative lamps and tiki torches. Lamp oil smells sweet and comes in attractive colors. Lamp oil is very dangerous if aspirated (breathed into the lungs). If a child ingests it and it goes straight to their stomach, they may only suffer stomach upset. If a child aspirates lamp oil, he can end up in intensive care because of damage to her/his lungs. Many times, children aspirate lamp oil when they try to spit or gag it back up after realizing it doesn’t taste as good as it looks.
8) Muscle Rubs–The main ingredient in many muscle rubs (such as Bengay) is methyl salicylate. Methyl salicylate shares many similarities with aspirin. One tablespoon of extra strength muscle rub cream is the equivalent to approximately 19 aspirin tablets (325 mg) or 78 low does aspirin tablets (commonly called baby aspirin). Wow!
If your child or anyone in your household consumes any of the items above or anything that you think might be harmful, dial the Poison Control Center at: 1800-222-1222.
**The bloggers at Social Parenting are not medical experts and as always, please consult your doctor, medical professionals, and poison control center in case of emergency. **