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Summertime Poisoning Alert

Poisonings can occur anytime, anyplace. As your pediatricians, we spend time during regular checkups to remind parents about many ways to prevent accidental injuries and poisonings. Luckily, the number of medication poisonings that occur has dropped dramatically over the past ten years, due to increased awareness and vigilance, as well as the mandated used of child-resistant packaging.

Summertime, though, brings out a different kind of risk that parents should know about. Many poisonous substances are found in the garage, basement, carport or storage building. Toddlers and young children are curious and will put almost anything in their mouths. Gasoline and other hydrocarbons, such as diesel fuel, kerosene, lamp oil, tiki torch oil, camp-stove cooking fuel, and lighter fluid are not only flammable but also extremely toxic if ingested or inhaled. Antifreeze is deadly if ingested. Pool chemicals and test kits may be packaged in brightly colored bottles that are attractive to children. These agents are commonly found in areas that young children may enter easily. It is essential that we never transfer these kinds of chemicals into innocent-looking soda bottles that a child might try to drink. Store these chemicals only in their original containers, with child resistant caps. They should be placed high and ideally in a locked cabinet or room.

Inhaled fumes from gasoline can be harmful. This is one reason that the service station has signs that prohibit children younger than 16 years from pumping gas. There is also risk from gas splashing into a child’s eyes if the child is near the gas pump. Keep your children inside the car at the gas station. Syphoning gas is especially hazardous and should never be attempted by adults or children. These risks are the same at home as they are in the service station, so don’t allow young children to attempt to put fuel in the lawnmower or other equipment.

Never attempt to make a child vomit if he may have ingested one of these substances. Call poison control and go directly to your nearest pediatric emergency room. Keep your children safe to enjoy all the fun of summer.

Poison Control 1-800-222-1222

Written by Dr. Pat Nevius, MD
On behalf of PAMPA

© 2011 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
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