Every year, thousands of children between the ages of 1 and 5 are poisoned in Québec by ingesting a toxic product, getting a toxic product in their eyes or on their skin, or inhaling toxic vapours.
These products are everywhere. You have them in your kitchen cabinets, bathroom, bedroom, garage, and even your purse.
Many household products and plants can be toxic to children, like vitamins, medications, cleaning products, fuel, houseplants, lawn mushrooms, and pesticides, as well as personal hygiene, car maintenance, and renovation products.
Centre antipoison du Québec is a phone emergency service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your child as ingested a toxic product, they will assist you with the first aid care (see Poisoning and contact with hazardous products).
Centre antipoison du Québec has published a number of poisoning prevention pamphlets. To learn more, visit their website:
Centre antipoison du Québec
www.ciusss-capitalenationale.gouv.qc.ca/nos-services/en-cas-durgence/centre-antipoison-du-quebec (In French only)
Medications and toxic products
Here are some smart ways to prevent poisoning:
- Keep toxic products and medications out of children’s sight and reach.
- Store these products in cabinets and drawers with safety latches or in places children cannot get into.
- Keep these products in their original containers.
- Never transfer hazardous products to food containers (e.g., gas in a water bottle).
Other simple precautions you can take to reduce the risk of poisoning in children:
- Keep children away from ashtrays and glasses containing alcoholic beverages.
- To prevent drug overdose, carefully read the instructions before you give your child any medicine and measure out the exact dose. See your pharmacist if you need help.
- When purchasing medication or hazardous products, choose childproof containers (although they aren’t 100% effective).
- Never leave medication on the changing table or near the crib.
- When you are at someone else’s home, give the house a once over to make sure your child will be safe.
Many indoor and outdoor plants have toxic leaves and fruits that can cause conditions such as skin irritation, swelling, trouble swallowing, dry mouth, diarrhea, vomiting, and hallucinations.
To prevent exposure to toxic plants, it’s worth checking to see if your indoor and outdoor plants are toxic. As soon as your child can crawl or walk, keep these plants out of her reach.
Keep plants in their original container so you can easily identify them later. If you don’t know the name of your plants, ask at a garden centre or florist. It may be useful to bring along some photos so they can help identify them.
Long considered harmless, lawn mushrooms are now an increasingly common cause of poisoning. Lawn mushrooms can cause serious damage to a child’s liver and digestive system.
To prevent poisoning caused by lawn mushrooms, they should be picked or destroyed before children can find them. Since they grow quickly, be vigilant and keep a watchful eye out for them.