Chapter 11 Promoting Children’s Safety
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Emergency Procedures for Poisonings
Poisoning emergencies often involve
swallowing toxic substances. Other types of
poisoning emergencies can occur. These include
breathing toxic fumes and chemical injuries to the
eyes or skin.
If any type of poisoning emergency occurs,
follow these procedures. Do not rely on fi rst
aid information, antidote charts, or product
information. Often this information is outdated
or incorrect. The child may experience additional
injury if the wrong action is taken.
Always call 911 or your local emergency
immediately if the child is drowsy, is
unconscious, has diffi culty breathing, or has
seizures. Be prepared to provide specifi c
information. You will be asked to
describe the child’s symptoms
identify any fi rst aid procedures you have
already administered
report the time at which the substance
was taken
report the child’s age and weight
provide the name of the poisonous
report the amount of substance the child
If you suspect poisoning and there are no
symptoms, contact the National Poison Center at
800-222-1222. If the child removed the substance
from a container, have the container with you
when you call. Unless the exact amount is known,
overestimating the amount consumed is better
than underestimating it.
Do not keep emetics—substances that
induce vomiting when swallowed—within the
facility. Syrup of ipecac is an example of an
emetic. Never give a child syrup of ipecac or
any other emetic. According to The American
Academy of Pediatrics, no good evidence of
its effectiveness exists. Some poisons, such as
drain cleaner or lye, can cause serious damage
to the child’s esophagus if vomiting is induced.
These substances are called caustics. They burn
going down the child’s esophagus. If vomiting is
induced, they will also burn coming up.
One of the leading causes of poisoning in
young children is plants. When eaten, many
popular house and garden plants can produce
toxicity ranging from minor to severe. They can
cause skin rashes, upset stomachs, or even death.
Many common household plants are poisonous.
To prevent poisoning, check with your fl orist
before purchasing a plant for the classroom.
Finally, teach children never to put any leaves,
fl owers, or berries into their mouths.
Neglect and Abuse
The number of referral rates for child abuse
and neglect continue to increase. Recent studies
show that younger children are most likely to be
abused. Many states reported that more than a
quarter of abused children were younger than
3 years old. Twenty percent were in the range of
Figure 11.8 Poisonous Substances
Batteries/battery acid
Candle wax
Cleaners: ammonia,
bleach, dishwasher
detergent, dishwashing
liquid, disinfectants,
drain cleaner, dusting
spray, lemon oil, spot
remover, toilet bowl
cleaner, window
Cosmetics and personal
care items: aftershave
lotion, hair care
products, makeup,
mouthwash, nail
polish and nail polish
remover, perfume,
Flowers and plants: many
varieties—consult a
greenhouse for names
Lighter fluid
Medications: many
prescription and over-
the-counter drugs
Mouse poison
Paint and paint thinners
Plant food
Shoe polish
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