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Household cleaners pose dangerous risks to curious youngsters

Sun Advocate reporter

National child safety experts recommend that Carbon County residents keep household cleaners, medicine and dangerous products out of children's reach. By doing so, adults can avoid an accidental poisoning of a child.

During the summer, children tend to spend most of their time outdoors.

The warm weather and long days allow Carbon County children to participate in various activities.

Because kids spend so much time outside, adults tend to overlook the dangers that lurk inside a home.

The most common dangers found in all households are poisons.

Many times, people think of poison as being a deadly chemical. But in reality, poison can be as simple as an everyday household cleaner or a common indoor plant.

When children are present in a home, it is important to keep an eye on both the kids and the dangerous products inside the home.

Child health experts advise local parents that children younger than the age 6 years old are the most frequent victims of poisonings.

Infants and toddlers are at highest risk. Therefore, officials advise to keep common household poisons and medicines out of sight and reach of children.

Although most poisonings can be prevented, the incidents still occur. Therefore, local residents should be prepared and become familiar with the poison control number. The poison control center may be contacted by calling toll-free at 1-800-222-1222.

Before attempting to treat a poisoning victim, people should seek medical advice first. The quickest way to obtaining assistance is by contacting the poison control center.

Parents are also advised by child health officials to keep Ipecac on hand. The product is frequently used as a treatment for some types of poisoning and will cause vomiting.

Ipecac should not be used, however, unless recommended by a medical expert or poison control officials.

If poisoning is suspected, the National Safe Kids Campaign provides several steps to assist the victim.

In the case of accident poisonings, Carbon County residents should:

•Stay calm.

Keep the child calm as well.

•Look in the child's mouth.

Remove any remaining pills, pieces of plant, etc.

•Take the child and the suspected poison to the phone.

Call the poison control center or a family doctor.

Be prepared to give the child's age, weight, the product name and the amount swallowed.

•Follow the medical experts directions.

Never give the child anything including Ipecac without first calling a poison control center or a doctor.

By giving the child something before being advised, an adult may cause more harm to the young poisoning victim.

In order to prevent poisoning from occurring, poison control officials provide the following tips.

•Store medicines and household products where children cannot reach the products and lock the items up.

•Store all poisons in the products original containers.

•Use child resistant packaging. But remember that nothing is totally childproof.

•Use poisons safely. Always read the label and follow instructions provided by the manufacturer.

•Lock products and medicines up after every use.

•Children often times learn by imitation. Try to take medicines where children can't watch.

•Poisons can look like food or drink. Teach children to ask an adult before eating or drinking anything.

Another common household danger is choking.

Children, especially infants and toddlers, put almost anything in their mouth.

Always keep small objects out of a child's reach.

A general rule of thumb is that, if an item will fit inside a toilet paper roll, a small child will be able to swallow it and may choke.

Round and hard foods are also choking hazards for children.

Hot dogs, hard candies, popcorn and nuts are common foods which children choke on.

If a child starts to choke, an adult must quickly take steps to help the victim.

For an infant, an adult should try five quick blows to the back. Then give five thrusts by placing two fingers on the breast bone between the nipples. Push down and let go. The adult should repeat the procedure until the airway is clear.

For a child, the adult should stand behind the victim and, with fists clasped between the navel and the bottom of the breast bone, give five quick strong thrusts in an upward motion. The adult should repeat the procedure until the airway is clear.

In all choking cases, local residents should contact a medical professional after the child is breathing on his or her own.

In many incidents, the child can be hurt internally by an adults effort to dislodge an object.

Also, if the efforts to help a young poisoning victim fail, people should contact emergency personnel for assistance.

Burns are another common injury children sustain while inside the home.

In order to prevent youngsters from scalding themselves, Carbon County adults should consider following the tips provided by the National Safe Kids Campaign. The campaign recommends that local residents:

•Keep hot foods and drinks away from the edge of tables and counters.

Never place hot foods and drinks on a tablecloth that little hands can yank.

•People should never attempt to hold hot food or drinks and a child at the same time.

•When cooking, keep children away from the stove

Always turn pot handles toward the back of the stove and if possible, use the rear burners.

Youngsters can also scald themselves with water from a tap. Most children suffer similar injuries in the bathroom, generally in the bathtub.

Safety experts recommend lowering the temperature of a hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Adults should always test the water before filling a bathtub. There are several manufacturers who make devices that measure water temperature and act as a guide for parents.

In addition, children should be supervised while in the tub.

Water faucets are fascinating to youngsters, but can become dangerous if turned on to a hot setting.

Finally, Carbon County residents should be aware of any fire dangers that may exist in homes.

Something as simple as a book of matches can become an interesting toy of sorts for children. The fascination can quickly become hazardous and even deadly.

Parents should teach youngsters the dangers of playing with matches and lighters. More importantly, keep the items out of a child's reach and make sure to advise the child to inform an adult if such an item is found.

It is important for families to have a fire escape plan. The plan should be reviewed regularly and even practiced. Parents should also teach children about what to do in case a fire occurs.

Children should know to get out of a building that is on fire quickly. Every second counts.

Youth should also be advised to crawl low under the smoke and test doors to see if they are hot before entering any room.

It is important to make sure that the child knows to never enter or re-enter a burning home.

A designated meeting place for family members may reduce the chance of a child returning to a burning building.

In the even children's clothing becomes engulfed in flames, the National Safe Kids Campaign encourages adults to teach the youngsters to:

•Stop moving.

Running fans the flames making the fire burn faster.

Shout for help and never run to get someone.

•Drop to the floor.

Cover the face.

•Roll back and forth to put out the flames.

By talking to children about safety inside and outside of the home, Carbon County parents can ensure a safe and injury free summer for local youth.

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