MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – They are common household products that we use every day – but they can also be dangerous and sometimes deadly in the hands of children.
According to the Poison Control Center, last year in Tennessee poisoning was the number one cause of injury prevention death.
Two-year-old E.J. Walters, of Mt. Juliet, loves watching cartoons, but he’s also at the ripe age, where he’s curious about nearly everything.
“There are times in which I’ve caught him kind of curious of what’s under the cabinet. The bottles – is it food or something to drink? So he does get inquisitive from time to time,” his father Eric Walters said.
Waters said he and his family have taken the necessary precautions to keep dangerous household products away from E.J.
“Generally he doesn’t mess with it for the most part, but as a safety measure it is best to get it locked up,” Walters said, continuing, “Mr. Clean, even dishwashing liquid can easily be mistaken for juice to a child, and these are things we don’t think about, but can be definitely dangerous to a child, in the hands of a child.”
According to the Tennessee Poison Center, the most dangerous household poisons include medicine.
“Things like Tylenol and Ibuprofen; and that category also include things like pain medication,” said Tennessee Poison Center Managing Director Nena Bowman said.
Cleaning products and self-care products can also be hazardous to children.
“Make-up, shampoo, and things like that,” Bowman said. “They usual smell very good, and don’t taste quite as good as they smell.”
Things like breath-fresheners and hand cleaners can are also dangerous.
“Lots of the mouth washes have alcohol, as well. Less than hand sanitizers, but still enough where if a child drink more than a mouth full we would be a little concerned,” said Bowman.
Dishwasher and laundry pods are also becoming a concern for Poison Control Center workers.
“Unfortunately, these pods are under pressure, so whenever the membrane gets very wet with kids that are very slobbery, then that membrane are weaken and kids put pressure on them and it will shoot in the back of their throats,” Bowman said. “Whenever kids get that soak in their lungs, it makes it very difficult for their lungs to do their job so they start coughing and have trouble breathing and there has been children die from that as well.”
And tiny button batteries ingested by children have proven to be deadly in some cases.
“They can very quickly, within hours, burn holes in children’s esophagus where food goes down and you have two major blood vessels in neck, so it becomes a very dangerous situation that has killed children,” Bowman explained.
The Tennessee Poison Center at Vanderbilt Health is staffed with medical professionals around the clock, taking calls many times from frantic parents whose child has ingested something they shouldn’t.
“In 2016, in Tennessee, poisoning actually is the number one cause of injury prevention death,” said Bowman.
Remember little E.J.? Right in the middle of his dad’s interview with News 2 the toddler managed to get into the refrigerator, asking for milk.
“You don’t think about what’s in your fridge. You don’t think about locking it down, but he’s able to access that, these are things you don’t think about,” Walters said. “It’s the same thing with cabinet or shelves or anything else, you know, he can access it, he can get to it if he wants to bad enough.”
That’s why Poison Control Center workers say no matter what precautions there is no such thing as child proofing your home.
“The reality is, kids are very inventive and nothing is child proof, everything is child resistant,” Bowman said.
The Tennessee Poison Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s located in Nashville at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and services the entire state.
For any poison related emergencies, you can call the center at 1-800-222-1222 or visit their website.