Q:My 18-month old gets into everything. I think of my home as childproof, but is there anything that could be dangerous to her that I might not be thinking about?
A: Because of how frequently we see laundry detergent pod exposures, we believe that all not parents are aware that they can be very dangerous to have around if you have a child under the age of 6. Laundry detergent pods have proven very harmful, causing burns of the mouth, throat or airways, respiratory distress and coma in children. These new laundry products often look very appealing to children, and historically have been sold in containers or bags that are not child-resistant. If your family includes young children, stick with the traditional liquid or powder laundry detergents.
Harmful chemicals typically are placed in common areas, such as kitchen cabinets, garage shelves, bathroom medicine cabinets and laundry room drawers. Be aware of the "pretty poisons" in your home - anything harmful or dangerous, but which looks pretty through the eyes of a child. Parents should keep medications, pesticides, alcohol and potentially dangerous cleaners and chemicals out of sight and out of reach. This includes colorful laundry pods, which may look like candy to some kids.
If you have small children in your home, remember their wonderful curious nature may sometimes get them into trouble. If you have questions, call your poison center at 800-222-1222. You can even call them today - before an emergency - to request a free information packet describing other common household poisons.
-Dr. Marcel Casavant is the Medical Director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and the Chief of Toxicology at Nationwide Children's Hospital.