Child safety involves protecting children from all potential harms. While many parents think that home is the safest place for a child to be, home also provides a poisonous mix of hazards that impact upon our children's safety.
Most adults know and accept the risks taken with medicines, drugs, cleaning products and pesticides but children do not. Poison safety in the home requires not only keeping poisons out of reach but also education around why things are poisonous.
About: Pediatrics offers a Poison Safety checklist designed to find unsafe areas in the home. An assessment of storage, accessibility and general child safety principles, it is an excellent start point for keeping kids safe from accidental poison and age appropriate curiosity. What it does not do is help parents educate children about why products must be kept out of reach.
Look for teachable moments to educate children about poison safety. Weaving poison safety and poison rules into general conversation is an effective way to help children retain information rather than the children thinking they are receiving a Mum and Dad lecture. Lectures frequently result in children zoning out and offering platitudes to trick their parent into thinking that full attention is being given.
A teachable moment may present at any time. Are you ready for it? Now that we are home schooling, our child has been exposed to unusual activities and routines that used to happen during his school attendance hours. Oven and bathroom cleaning provided teachable moments that I had not previously considered.
While helping me, child was asked to leave the room on several occasions. The fumes and toxins from two particular products left his eyes watering and nose complaining. In the interests of child safety and environmental protection, it is time to swap to green products.
So interested was child in the powerful effect of the cleaners that we spent some time outside talking about why poisons work, why they are poisonous and what to do if someone is overcome by the poison. This discussion led into the potent effects of mixing not only chemicals but also food products, medicines and alcohol, and accidental usage of the wrong product. Although I appreciate that Pop will be embarrassed, I also shared a family based poison mishap because the teaching opportunity was too great to ignore..
Pop made a mistake recently when barbecuing steak. Eyesight failing, Pop relies on things being put away in their correct space. Reaching for the green bottle of oil spray, Pop unknowingly grabbed the green Pesticide spray - put there by a guest who was helping to tidy up. It wasn't until he sprayed the steak that the smell told him it was Mortein. If Pop had been unable to smell, he would have served the steak and inadvertently poisoned his guests.
Child helped me to do a poison safety check. Within our kitchen alone, we found three bottles of hazardous chemicals that were within arms reach of visiting children. Further, we found four potentially hazardous poisons in the food pantry. Relocating all the products to a high spot, completely separate to the pantry, child and I decided to do a future home school project on poisonous foods and plants.
Our cleaning day turned into teachable moments of poisons information that may have been otherwise overlooked. While we know the importance of poison safety, children do not. Find a teachable moment and help keep your kids safe from poisons in the home.
Photo of "Poison" compliments of Hberends at stock.xchng