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ISMP Medication Safety Alert

Kidproofing your home against accidental poisoning

If you think that you have totally kid-proofed your home, think again. Some common household items and medications are surprisingly dangerous. Of the calls to poison control centers, 9% are due to exposures to personal care products. For example, children often eat toothpaste containing fluoride, and in small quantities, a normal, healthy child will usually have no problem other than some stomach upset. But if a child eats a few mouthfuls, he could have much more serious problems. Toothpastes today taste good, and there are lots of new flavors just for kids.

Another surprising danger is automatic dishwasher detergent. This is much more dangerous than hand dishwashing liquid, which is just watered down soap. Think about it: automatic dishwasher detergent can clean your dishes without you scrubbing them. That requires pretty strong stuff. If a child swallows a mouthful of any of these detergents--with the new fragrances, like lemon, they actually taste pretty good--he could suffer burns in his throat.

The lesson here is to keep everything out of reach of kids under the age of five. That's the age group that is most likely to be poisoned at home. And if your little one does get into something, or if you think that he might have gotten into something, stay calm, and call the regional poison control center.

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