Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

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Pills, plants, pods: Know the potential poisons in your home

4/13/2020 by Nusheen Ameenuddin, MD

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Every day, more than 300 children, from infants to teens, are treated in U.S. emergency departments for accidental poisoning; of those, two will die. 

Curious kids will often investigate — and sometimes try to eat or drink — anything they can get into. It's not just chemicals marked with clear warning labels that are dangerous. Everyday items in your home, such as household cleaners and medicines, can be poisonous. Others that pose a danger include: 

  • E-cigs
  • Liquid nicotine
  • Hand sanitizer (alcohol poisoning)
  • Laundry detergent packets (pods)
  • CBD products, including gummy bears, other edibles
  • Chewable gummy vitamins
  • Indoor and outdoor plants
  • Mouthwash
  • Cosmetics
  • Skin lighteners
  • Hair treatments, perms, dyes
  • Alcoholic "pods" (whisky in a clear, seaweed pod)
  • Alcoholic beverages, including hard ciders, sodas and seltzers
  • Batteries, particularly the button type

But it's not hard to poison-poof your home. 

  • Lock them up and away. Keep medicines and products such as cleaning solutions and detergent pods in their original packaging. Store them where kids can't reach or see them. Use child-proof locks on cupboards and medicine cabinets. 
  • Read labels carefully.  Follow directions and read all the warnings when giving medications to children to avoid giving them too much or the wrong medication. 
  • Don't keep it if you don't need it. Take household chemicals to the local hazardous waste disposal points and drop off unused medications at drop boxes maintained by local law enforcement or at National Drug Take-Back event. You can also dispose of medicines by mixing them with coffee grounds or kitty litter and tossing them in the garbage. 
  • Know the number — 1-800-222-1222. Keep the National Poison Control Center's number by phones throughout your house or programmed into your cell phone and other devices. The center is open 24/7. Call them if you suspect your child has been poisoned and they're awake and alert. If your child has collapsed or isn't breathing, call 911. For more information, visit the Poison Control Center's website

Dr. Nusheen Ameenuddin is a pediatrician with Primary Care in Rochester/Kasson's Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (CPAM). She has a strong interest in child advocacy and media effects on children. She serves as vice-chair of the national American Academy of Pediatric's (AAP) Council on Communications and Media and on the board of the Minnesota chapter of the AAP. She also holds a master's in Public Health and serves as director of the Pediatric Resident Continuity Clinic.