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Child poisoning is more common than you might think. What dangers are hiding around your house, how can you prevent poisoning, and what should you do if an accident does happen?

Modern parents are so much more safety aware than their counterparts from even a few generations back. If you are raising little ones, you know all about seat belts, and the dangers of second-hand smoke, and baby proofing. Chances are that you still worry about your kids' health and safety, however. 

The best way to combat those worries is by being vigilant all the time, as well as fully aware of what can go wrong.

Accidents are, unfortunately, still possible. Have you thought about the possibility your kids could poison themselves with household items? 

I did — when I had toddlers, I always kept cleaning materials and alcohol out of their reach. I still have a bit of a story to tell, though! I'll never forget the time my little daughter had the flu, and all the fever and vomiting that go with that. I did what any good mother does when her little one has a raised temperature: I gave her Tylenol liquid.

She needed to vomit right after, and while I helped her my two-year old son drank half the bottle, which was left open because of his sister's vomiting. After activated charcoal, lots of panic, and a trip to the ER, everything was fine. But boy, was that stressful. The boy is five now, and he still remembers it too. "It tasted so good, but it was dangerous," he says.

While prevention is better than the cure, accidents like these can happen to pretty much anyone.

What liquid and solid dangers are lurking in your house, and how can you keep them out of reach? But also — how can you recognize the symptoms of poisoning, and what do you need to do after your child ingests something poisonous?

Child Poisoning: The Unforgiving Facts

Acute poisoning proved to be fatal for 45,000 children and youngsters under 20 in 2004, according to the World Health Organization. Children under 12 months are at the highest risk of poisoning, though there is another peak at age 15. Child poisoning is a more common in low- and middle income countries. In 16 high- and middle income countries, poisoning is the fourth most common cause of accidental injury — only traffic accidents, fires and drowning are more frequent causes. 

The sources of poisoning tend to vary according to a country's income level.

In developed western nations, children are most likely to get poisoned by medication, household products including bleach, pesticides, poisonous plants, and insect and animal bites. 

Did you know boys everywhere in the world are more likely be poisoned than girls? That could be due to social or developmental factors. Poisoning statistics include teenagers, who are much more likely to be aware of what they are getting into — to get high, for instance. Small children are a different story (most of the time, anyway!). Those package warnings and child locks aren't enough to keep our children safe, apparently. 

The next page will take a look at common sources of child poisoning, and what you can do to keep your children safe. 

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