Bedrooms are often considered to be a haven for rest and relaxation. However, if you stop to consider some of the everyday items that can be found in a bedroom, you might be surprised to learn that some of these could potentially lead to accidental poisoning.
Poisoning can occur to people of all ages – whether it’s a young child putting something into their mouths or an adult accidentally mixing up their medication, so it is important to be careful.
Products like cosmetics, medicines, perfumes, deodorants, face creams, nail products, talcum powder, sun creams, contact lens products, denture cleaning products, hearing aid batteries, eye drops, and ear drops are just some products that may be present in a bedroom. All of these products should be stored out of reach and sight of children to prevent accidental poisoning. Places like bedside lockers, low shelves, dressing tables, or windowsills are not suitable places for storing medicines, cosmetics and personal hygiene products as they may be within easy reach of children.
Baby care products, including baby wipes, nappy creams and powders, teething gels, calamine lotion, and medicine are sometimes kept in the baby changing bag. However, this is not a safe or secure location and could pose a poisoning risk as babies develop and start to crawl and explore their surroundings. Always store products safely out of reach and sight of children, as some products may harm babies and toddlers, even if they swallow small amounts.
Sometimes bedrooms might have suitcases or overnight bags stored there. It is important to always empty suitcases and bags as soon as you have finished with them in case children open them. Items that you thought were stored safely, such as medicine, cosmetics or travel products might pose a risk if accidentally swallowed.
If you have a TV in your bedroom, make sure the battery compartment of the remote control is secure as button batteries can be extremely dangerous if swallowed.
If you are visiting the home of a relative, or staying at a hotel or guesthouse, it is a good idea to always carry out a safety check to make sure there is nothing harmful on the ground or within arm’s reach of children. Get into the habit of looking under the bed to check for loose tablets or other products that may have rolled underneath bed or been left behind by others. Crouch down low and take a look around to see what your baby or child might see and be able to reach. Ensure any complementary toiletries are stored out of reach and sight of children.
- Always read product labels and only use products as directed.
- Always turn the light on (if dark) to ensure you are using the correct product.
- Always use the recommended measuring spoon or syringe to ensure the correct dose when giving medicine.
- Store medicines, cosmetics and other products out of sight and reach of children.
- Always put the lid on properly and immediately replace the lid after using a product.
- Ideally lock storage cabinets.
- Avoid giving babies containers with cream, lotion. Talcum powder or TV remote control devices to hold while getting their nappies changed.
Know what to do if accidental poisoning occurs
If your child manages to get hold of medicines, cosmetics, creams etc, it is important to act quickly. Here’s a list of what you should do.
- Stay calm.
- Take the product from the child.
- If they ingested a product, make them spit it out. Check their mouth for redness, irritation or burns.
- NEVER make your child vomit.
- If the product has splashed onto their skin or into their eyes rinse them for 15 minutes with running water. Do not apply eye drops to the eye.
- Signs and symptoms of poisoning can be delayed, so it is important to always seek medical advice.
- Bring the product container to the phone and call the Poisons Centre for advice on 01 809 2166 (available from 8am-10pm daily).
If your child has serious symptoms for example if they are unconscious or having seizures, call the emergency services immediately on 999 or 112.
Contacting the National Poisons Information Centre
Healthcare Professional Line: 01 809 2566 (24hr)
Public Poisons Line: 01 809 2166 (8am-10pm)