As your baby becomes more mobile, they will begin to explore their world, usually by putting things in their mouths. As they have little concept of danger, this puts them at risk of accidental poisoning. Young children also like to imitate adults, so may copy potentially dangerous behaviours such as taking medication.
Poisonings can happen at any time, especially when a child is unsupervised or when the family routine is changed.
Children under 5 years account for most accidental poisonings, with children aged 1-3 years at most risk. So making your home safe is critical to preventing accidents.
Poisonings can happen at any time, especially when a child is unsupervised or when the family routine is changed. Extra care is needed when you are on holidays, moving house, having visitors or during other family disruptions – such as when you are having renovations done and workmen bring equipment and chemicals onto the site.
It’s important to be aware of these dangers and take steps to keep your family safe. If in doubt, play it safe – treat any liquid or substance as a potential poison.
What to do in an emergency
Understanding what to do in an emergency, while waiting for medical help, could save your child’s life. As a parent, it’s recommended that you complete a first aid course with an accredited organisation such as St. John’s Ambulance or the Red Cross. You should also keep a well-equipped first aid kit at home.
In cases of emergency, it’s important to stay calm and act logically. There are four basic steps:
STEP 1: Assess the situation
Try to find out exactly what has happened. Is there an ongoing risk to your child? Are there any other injured people? Should you call an ambulance?
STEP 2: Don’t risk endangering yourself
You can’t help your child if you become injured yourself. If it’s unsafe for you to remove your child from a source of danger, call an ambulance and wait for help.
STEP 3: Serious injuries need to be treated quickly
Any injuries that threaten your child’s life, such as blood loss or the inability to breathe, must be dealt with immediately. Call an ambulance. Your first aid training will give you the best chance of dealing with these injuries while you wait for medical help.
STEP 4: Get help
Shout for help and direct people to do whatever is necessary – call an ambulance, help with first aid, move your child or clear the area.
Chapter 4 Your Child's Health