Poisoning of children is common. They can be caused by inhalation through the skin and mucous membranes and more often by putting objects in the mouth or swallowing. Accidental poisoning of young children is always the responsibility of parents / guardians. Safety in the parental home is not the responsibility of the child but of the adult. The countless measures taken to create a safe environment (heat of heating bodies, protection of electrical outlets, protection of sharp ends of furniture, slippery ceramic tiles on the floor, low balcony railings) should include the prevention of poisoning of children. One should always think about the availability of substances that we use every day in the household and can become dangerous poisons for children. Fortunately, most dangerous substances have an unpleasant smell, taste or structure, so children spit out these substances. Parents usually say that they ate their grandmother’s medicine or food for flowers. What is known and uninteresting to adults becomes a subject of interest for young children. Many household products contain strong toxins (for example, bleach or detergent for washing machines or dishes). The glass wash spray contains methyl alcohol. Deodorants and perfumes contain ethyl alcohol. Rodent poison dangerously dilutes the blood. The plant repellent contains poisonous organophosphates and so on. Any medical drug is potentially toxic if taken in large doses. Medicines that we keep on bedside tables next to the beds are especially dangerous for children. A forgotten blood pressure lowering pill acts like a colorful candy although it can cause dangerous arrhythmias and a drop in blood pressure in a young child. Accidental poisonings are characteristic of children up to the age of four. Doctors usually get information from the parents that the child was left without parental supervision for a very short time or while the adults thought that the child was asleep. Intentionally taking larger amounts of medications or alcohol is more common in adolescents. There are cases in the dispensaries where small children drank the remaining contents of a forgotten glass of brandy from the table or chewed tobacco from a cigarette.
Toxic substances for children
- Medications and pills: It is very important for parents to know that anything a child takes from the medicine cabinet can be dangerous (sleeping pills, allergy pills, some vitamins, headache or fever pills, etc.). All these drugs are useful in the prescribed dose for adults, but due to their composition and quantity, they will be toxic for small children.Household cleaners: All cleaners are dangerous because they are strong bases or acids. These products are not gentle in contact with the skin and mucous membranes due to the purpose of these products.
- Garage products, workshops, plant care products: they can be dangerous even when they evaporate because they contain dangerous solvents.
- Plants in the garden, in pots or on the balcony: always inquire well and inform yourself before planting a plant in the household. There are plenty of poisonous plants that we sometimes unknowingly keep on the balcony or in our home.
- Tobacco and alcohol: Tobacco is deadly if swallowed. Just one swallowed cigarette can be deadly for a one-year-old child. A good sip of alcohol will have a dangerous effect on a child who has just learned to walk and can leave permanent consequences on the child’s internal organs.
- Diagnosis – In most cases, doctors make a diagnosis based on data obtained from parents. It is useful for parents to bring a package, material, box or bottle of the product that the child swallowed. If there is no information on the amount of dangerous substance that the child has swallowed, the doctor will make a diagnosis based on the child’s behavior and take into account the situation as if the child had swallowed the highest possible dose of the dangerous substance. If the doctor does not have information that the child has been in contact with a dangerous substance, he will suspect poisoning if there are symptoms and signs that indicate the cause of the child’s poor condition: drowsiness or coma, convulsions, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, pupil size, pupillary reactions. , or unusual behavior of the child for his age.
- Prevention: is more important than cure. All medicines should be locked in a cupboard placed as high as possible on the wall. Even bottles of syrup or antipyretic drugs or antibiotics not currently in use should not be within the reach of a child. Means for maintaining the hygiene of the kitchen or bathroom should not be on the floor or closet that can be easily opened and never in the way of a child who is just crawling or learning to walk. Anything the child does not use should not be available for viewing. Poisonings occur rarely but leave lasting health consequences. Parental thinking that the child is constantly in the reach of the eye is better replaced with the security of a locked medicine cabinet.
- First aid for poisoning children: it is provided by rinsing the skin and accessible mucous membranes with plain water. The usual induction of vomiting should be avoided until the arrival of a doctor. Ask for the phone number of the National Poison Center where you will receive advice and reliable information on the toxicity of substances in your environment at any time. In case of suspicion that the child has taken toxic substances, call the Emergency Center immediately, which gives precise instructions for first aid to the poisoned person at home and provides the fastest transport to the hospital.
Source: Encyclopedia of Health