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To protect your family, install a carbon monoxide detector in every sleeping area in your home, including your child’s room. Check the batteries every spring and fall when you change your clocks. If the alarm goes off, leave your home immediately and call 911 or the local emergency number.

Don’t Forget About Lead…

Breathing lead dust or fumes or swallowing anything with lead in it can give a child lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, kidney disease, brain damage, delayed growth, and other problems.

If you live in a building constructed before 1978, it may contain lead paint. Lead paint is especially dangerous to your child if it’s flaking or peeling. Lead can also be found in tap water from older pipes that are lined or soldered with lead. If your home was built before 1978, or if there’s any other risk of lead exposure, talk to the doctor about getting your child’s blood tested for lead.

If there’s exposed or deteriorating lead paint in your home, have a licensed professional either remove it completely or cover it with an approved sealant. Until the lead can be removed, wash your child’s hands and face, as well as his toys, often to reduce his exposure to lead-contaminated dust. For information on how to get a paint sample analyzed, visit the National Lead Information Center’s website or call (800) 424-5323.

Don’t Forget Visitors…

As careful as you are, you can’t guarantee that people visiting your home have been as careful. Prescription medications, and even makeup, can be dangerous to small children, so be sure to keep visitors’ purses and bags out of your children’s reach.

…Or Grandparents

In a new report recently released by Safe Kids Worldwide, 28% grandparents said they keep their meds in easy-to-open containers, and of those 42% say they keep the medications in places like kitchen and bathroom counters, tables and shelves. This news comes amid concerns about the level of child medication poisonings that send kids to the emergency room. The group surveyed 1,000 grandparents ages 50 and older who watched their grandchildren under the age of 5 on a daily basis at least once a month. The report looked at how grandparents store their medications and those of the children they watch. In the survey, 74% of grandparents reported taking medication every day, suggesting that children have an increasing chance of coming into contact with medications.

Be Prepared For Emergencies

  • Keep the number for the national poison control center – (800) 222-1222 in the United States – and your local emergency numbers close to every phone.
  • Program emergency numbers into your home phones and cell phone. Keep a list of these numbers close to each phone in your home and give the list to all caregivers.
  • Have first-aid supplies handy. Make sure babysitters and other caregivers know where to find these supplies in your home and how to respond in an emergency.

Poison-Proof Your Home  was originally published on

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