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Discover five simple ways to make your home safer for babies and young children.

When you have a baby or young child in the home, it’s important to child-proof and avoid common hazards. Remember, child-proofing has to be customized for every home and its individual features and dangers. Carefully evaluate every room in your home. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with these tips.

1. Avoid recalled furniture and toys
Stay on top of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) list of recalled items. Never purchase used car seats and be aware that older used cribs may fail to meet modern safety standards. Used toys, especially toys that contain small magnets, may not be safe for children even under supervision.

2. Keep all medication and hazardous material out of the reach of children
It takes a serious sweep around your home to remove and lock up substances that could be harmful if swallowed. Make sure all adults and older kids in the home know the poison center's phone number: 1-800-222-1222.

3. Be aware of furniture and appliance dangers
The CPSC reports that on average, a child dies every two weeks from a furniture tipover accident. Heavy television sets on unsteady furniture are a common culprit in these tragic accidents, but as you child-proof your home, you should ensure that any heavy furniture is properly bracketed to the wall.

4. Use caution with blinds and drapery cords
Window blinds present a strangulation hazard to kids. Look for newer models that have complied to recent safety standards. Shop for child-proofing devices that eliminate long, hanging cords to lower and raise blinds.

5. Child-proof sources of electricity
Cover all outlets in the home with sturdy outlet covers to reduce the risk of children inserting fingers and objects into outlets. Keep electrical cords out of reach of kids and teach them from an early age not to play with cords and cables.

Sometimes accidents happen despite the best safety measures. The kid-friendly ER at Alliance is here for you when you need help in an emergency. If you would like help finding a doctor, give our physician referral line a call at 1-855-5NHILLS.

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When Should I Call Poison Control?

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Learn when to call Poison Control for you, another adult or a child in your household.

Did you know that anyone with a phone can access free help for exposure to harmful poisons? Here are some tips to guide you when it comes to calling Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222:

Don't worry about calling
When it comes to calling Poison Control, don’t let embarrassment about calling sway you. Parents have called with questions about everything from accidental overdose to strange occurrences like children licking printer ink. Kids can get into all sorts of things and they can get into them very quickly. Err on the side of caution if you think a child in your house may have ingested or otherwise come into contact with a poisonous substance.

Understand that poisons come in many varieties
When you think poison, you may be thinking of a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it. The fact is, in our world, poison isn’t so clearly labeled. Poison can come in the form of paint, nail polish remover, antifreeze, bug spray, toxic gases or over the counter medication. If you or a child has been exposed to a harmful substance, call poison control.

Know that you can call for adults
Parents make up a large number of calls, but Poison Control reports that adults accounted for 92 percent of all poison-related deaths reported to poison centers. If an adult has been exposed to an overdose of medication or any other harmful substance, don’t hesitate to call 1-800-222-1222.

Don’t wait for scary symptoms
If you think someone has been exposed to a harmful substance, call Poison Control immediately. Don’t wait for symptoms like vomiting, lethargy or loss of consciousness.Let experts help you assess the situation. If you’ve mixed medications and you’re unsure or if you think someone has been exposed to poison, call for help with the situation.

Need to take your child to the Emergency Room for a poison related issue? Visit kid-friendly ER at Alliance. If you would like help finding a doctor, give our physician referral line a call at 1-855-5NHILLS.

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March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week. Take this time to familiarize yourself with basic poison prevention and what to do if you think your child has been exposed to something dangerous. Before you do anything else, consider programming the Poison Help phone number into your telephone or in a very prominent place. The 24-hour Poison Help Hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

Proof Your Home
Regardless of your child’s age, it’s important to poison proof your home. Most parents consider the obvious sources of accidental poisoning, such as medication and household cleaners. But it’s also important to be aware of potential toxins such as poisonous plants, uncooked food and craft supplies. PoisonPrevention.org warns not to store chemicals in unmarked containers, especially food containers. Make yourself aware of any poisonous insects and animals that are common in your area. According to Poison Help, kids less than six are the most likely to be poisoned.

Educate Your Kids
From late toddler stages on up, it’s important to talk to your kids about hazards in the home. In addition to making sure that kids know not to play with dangerous cleaning, yard and household chemicals, talk to kids about poison first aid. Make sure kids know to talk to an adult. The last thing you want is for a child to hide accidental poisoning from you out of fear of being in trouble.

Educate Your Family
Poisoning can occur many ways. Talk to adults and caregivers in your family about poison. Be aware of cleaning vapors in the air, dispose of and store medication properly, and make sure that only competent adults dispense medication to kids. Keep doses clearly labeled and never give a child someone else’s medication or the wrong dose. When you’re traveling, make sure your lodgings are poison safe and if you stay with family, talk to them about keeping medication and poisons out of the reach of children.

Respond Immediately
Call Poison Help as soon as you think your child may have been exposed to something poisonous. Remember, poisoning can occur through ingestion, in the eyes, on the skin and by inhalation. In many cases, parents are simply told to be watchful. But this call can be life saving. Poison Help has access to information that can quickly let you know how to respond to an accidental poisoning.

If a family member is exposed to an unknown substance or poison, be sure to call the Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. If they determine that your family member should receive immediate medical attention, bring them to North Hills Hospital or the ER at Alliance. We are here to help administer emergency care any time of day or night. For a physician referral, please call 1-855-5NHILLS.

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