Poision lookalikes can harm children
Updated: Wednesday, October 30 2013, 05:48 PM EDT
Each year thousands of children accidentally ingest a poison at home – mistaking a hazardous household product for the food, drinks and candy they like. Last month, a 7-month-old in Central Florida died after eating a laundry detergent packet.
Out of the 65,000 incoming calls to the Upstate New York Poison Center annually, 60 percent are kids under the age of 5 ingesting a toxic household product.
Administrative Director Michele Cavila says it is mostly children under the age of 2.
“Everything goes in the mouth, they're curious, things in front of them they pick them up and taste them.” She explains.
When a toxic product looks very similar to something a child otherwise interprets as non-toxic, it is very easy for a dangerous situation to happen.
Dr. Diane Tenenbaum, a pediatrician at St. Peter’s Hospital says it happens in moments. She says a parent or caregiver should never rely on a product’s packaging to protect a child.
CBS6 provided an example of a ‘poison lookalike’; a purple and white bottle of Vitamin Water and Dimetapp Cold medicine, also in a purple and white bottle.
“They look very similar.” Dr. Tenenbaum says. “It’s easy to mistake a cold medicine - which could be very dangerous for a small child - for a juice. But even so look at the Parmesan cheese and the Comet? Even though they're packaged differently, the bigger issue for small child is the color.
Dr. Tenenbaum says children are more attracted to bright colors. She says make sure things are put away and locked up. This can be done with a child safety latch. Of course, she says trumping all of this is constant supervision.
If you know or suspect a child has ingested something poison, call the Upstate New York Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222
Lines are open 24/7 and completely confidential. A staff comprised of registered nurses and pharmacists will assist you.