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There are thousands of children and infants need medical care for poisoning from products commonly found in and around the home. Although long term injury is rare, the anxiety and distress caused to both child and parents could be avoided by increased awareness.
The group of children most at risk are the under fives and of these children aged one to three are at most risk. There are on average 15 children aged under 5 admitted to hospital daily in the UK due to sudden poisoning. Children from poor families are three times more likely to be admitted to hospital due to an accident, including accidental poisoning.
So why young children are more likely to be poisoned?
Exploring is part of growing up but young children have little concept of potential dangers. They are inquisitive and will often put things in their mouth to further explore their texture and taste. Part of growing up is to watch and copy what other do, unfortunately this includes copying using potentially dangerous things like household products and medication. Also, small children may mistake liquid capsule style dishwasher and washing machine detergents for toys or sweets. These are not only a danger in relation to ingestion but can also cause serious irritation to the eyes which can result in long term damage.
Symptoms associated with serious poisoning include:
If you think someone has swallowed poison:
Medical staff will need to take a detailed history to effectively treat a person who has been poisoned. When the paramedics arrive or when you arrive at an emergency department, give them as much information as you can, including:
How can accidents with household cleaning products be prevented?