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Children's Health

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Poison Prevention

Know the Signs and Hazards continued...

Prevention is, as the saying goes, the best remedy. Be sure to keep the usual and the unusual suspects out of reach and out of sight. According to Soloway, the most dangerous household items for children under age 5 include prescription and nonprescription medication (such as cold medicine, aspirin, and antiseptic ointments), antifreeze, windshield cleaning solution, caustic chemicals (oven cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner), hydrocarbons (furniture polish, lamp oil, kerosene), pesticides, and alcohol.

Other less obvious substances should also be kept out of harm's way, she says, including iron supplements, which are the leading cause of pediatric poisoning death. Children have died of alcohol poisoning from drinking mouthwash. And nicotine in any form is also hazardous; a single cigarette can cause seizures within 30 minutes of being swallowed by a child.

All of these items should be kept locked up and in their original, childproof packaging. "People don't always replace a childproof cap securely, so it's easier for them to get it off the next time, which is just asking for trouble," says Soloway.

Perrin also says that cosmetics and other attractively packaged items found in mom's purse are dangerous. "Children like anything colorful that may look like a toy or candy," says Perrin. "Unfortunately, a lot of household cleaners that can be very harmful do come in colorful packaging."

Like Will, most little kids can't be expected to follow Mommy's orders when something enticing is within arm's length. "He just couldn't resist something that he thought was a treat," says Rouse, who now keeps anything remotely suspect out of her son's reach.

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