spot the poison

Parenting • May 10, 2022

Mistaken Identity – Can you Spot the Poison?

Every household contains many poisons. Here are some tips and tricks to help parents keep young children safe.

Tip #1: Avoid buying anything that closely resembles food

One day many years ago, my husband purchased a product to clean the garbage disposal. It looked just like lemon drop candy. Even though my children were already older at that time, an item like this resembles candy so closely that if one were to fall onto the counter accidentally, I could easily see my teenage son giving it a taste. Immediately this item was forever banned from our house. Now imagine what a child who can not read yet would do with this package.

Tip #2: Never store food and cleaning products together

Certain cleaners resemble drinks. For example, blue liquid cleaners resemble blue sports drinks. Yellow liquid cleaners resemble apple juice or lemonade. Lamp oil can resemble cranberry juice. Keep only food-related items in the pantry or refrigerator.

Tip #3 Keep cleaners in their original containers

Taking the cleaner out of the original packaging makes it even harder to distinguish the poison from the food. For example, storing a liquid cleaner in an unmarked bottle or drinking glass is just inviting a child to come along and take a sip or a gulp.

Tip #4 Keep medications stored up high

Medications come in bright colors and can resemble jelly beans, gum, and various other candies. For example, gummy vitamins resemble gummy candies and can be dangerous if more than one is taken. Keeping medications stored up high and in childproof containers is one way to keep your child safe. Also, be sure to check the floor for any medications that may have dropped. Children most commonly get into medications that are kept loose in purses or pockets, on counters and night tables, or have spilled onto the floor.

Tip #5 Teach your child to recognize the symbol for poison

Young children are capable of recognizing product logos even before they can read. Teach them to recognize the poison skull and crossbones, or contact your local poison control center for stickers to put on dangerous items.

For those families welcoming new children or for those who need a refresher course, St. Louis Children’s Safety Stop offers free consultations on car, helmet, sleep, and home safety. To schedule an appointment at one of our five locations across the St. Louis area, call 314.565.0369.