Child Poisonings – What every babysitter needs to know!

According to Parachute Canada, approximately 4,000 Canadians die each year due to poisoning, it is the third-leading cause of unintentional injury hospitalizations for Canadian children aged 14 and under. Nearly 210,000 calls were received by poison centres across Canada in 2018, and more than a third of these calls were related to children.

Do you know that the leading cause of poisoning in children are medications?  

Medications need to be locked up high, out of sight and out of reach of children.  According to Parachute Canada, they should be kept in their original child-resistant packaging.  Young children love to explore the world by putting things in their mouths.  In Canada, child resistant packaging is required by law for certain medications which reduces the chance of children being poisoned.  Does this mean that all children can’t open child-resistant packaging?  Absolutely not! Some children can still open medication containers.  This is why it is so important to keep all medications up high, out of sight and out of reach of children.  As children grow, they become increasingly active and can more easily reach and open cabinets. They can even pull up a chair and get up on the counter.  So be sure to properly supervise children at all times.

Feeding children on time is also important.  If a child is hungry, they will search for something to eat and that’s when a poisoning can occur.  

Parents can also do their part by making sure their home is poison-safe and storing all potential poisons in a cabinet up high, a drawer or cupboard that can be locked with a key or latch.  The key should be stored in a hidden location.

Babysitters have a very big responsibility of keeping the children they are caring for safe. By taking a babysitting course, you will learn all the potential dangers to keep the children you are babysitting safe.

Here is a list of other products that cause poisoning:

  • Vitamins

    Chewable vitamins and gummy-bear forms of vitamins can be very tasty for children. Children may want to take more of the prescribed dose. These should also be out of reach of children. Be sure to teach children that vitamins are medicine.

  • Household cleaners

    Household cleaners such as bleach can be very dangerous for children. Some cleaners have scents such as lemon, orange and other fruit flavors which can be very tempting for children to drink.

  • Laundry detergent

    The laundry detergent pods are small enough for children to put in their mouth and contain a very strong dose of chemicals which can be very dangerous for children. Some children can bite through the plastic and poison themselves.

  • Personal products

    Mouthwash, toothpaste, perfumes, nail polish, skin creams can be very appealing to young children. They may include sore muscle rubs, steroid creams, wart removers and calamine lotion. All of these products should be kept out of their reach.

  • Pesticides

    They are substances used to get rid of pests. Exposure to more dangerous pesticides is less frequent because of stronger regulation of these substances. For instance, the garage could be potentially the most dangerous place to leave children unsupervised as there could be not only pesticides but paint, paint remover, fuel, car-cleaning products and much more.

  • Plants

    They can be tempting for young children to bite into a leaf for instance. Some can be harmful and others not. Parents can do their part by making sure they do not have any harmful plants in their house.

  • Foreign bodies

    Plastic toys, soil and coins can also be dangerous. Plastic toys containing latex could be harmful. Soil from house plants or from the outdoors could also be toxic. Coins are never washed and are handled by millions of people and can be full of bacteria.

Babysitters should make sure if they bring any of their medications with them while babysitting, that they are kept out of reach of children.  For example, if you have seasonal allergies and bring your medication with you in a bag along with your belongings,  you should make sure that the children you're babysitting will not be able to reach it.

To learn more about child poisonings, take a babysitting course.