Treat or treatment?
Can you tell the difference between these popular candies and the over-the counter medications?
Since so many potentially harmful products look so appealing, children are susceptible to mistaking treatments for treats. The South Texas Poison Center (STPC) offers the following tips for avoiding mishaps:
- Secure a home safety checklist from STPC and safety-proof your homes.
- Teach children to always ask first before touching, eating or playing with any unknown substances.
- Avoid purchasing vitamins or other medicines that look like candy.
- Never pretend that medicine is candy or that it tastes like candy. Never take medicines in front of children.
- Store all medicines in a high, locked cabinet, above the reach of children. Never store medicines or vitamins on a bedside table, dresser, or kitchen table or countertop.
- Leave all products in their original container, with the original label; always read labels before using.
- Never put medicine or household chemicals in discarded food or beverage containers.
- Never take, or give, medicine in the dark or without using corrective glasses.
- Keep one bottle of Syrup of Ipecac for each child in the household. The Ipecac is available in pharmacies without a prescription. However, caregivers are cautioned to never give the syrup until advised to do so by the STPC or the child's doctor.
- Post the STPC hotline number on your home phone and at other locations where the child stays. Develop a list of key emergency contact numbers, special information about your children's medical needs and scientific names of all your house and garden plants.
- Use child safety caps (child-resistant packaging) on all dangerous substances. Remember, child-resistant does not mean child-proof.
- Teach children that medicines are special substances to be handled by adults only.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of alcohol, drug and inhalant use; know your child's normal behavior and monitor any changes.
- Do not automatically follow poisoning treatment guides on product containers. Many product containers have inaccurate or incomplete information. Always call the STPC first for advice.
Part of the statewide Texas Poison Control Network, the South Texas Poison Center is staffed 24 hours a day to provide free general information, emergency assistance and poison education programs. The poison center receives more than 90 calls a day and serves 3.4 million people in 47 Texas counties.
Call the South Texas Poison Center at 1-800-POISON-1.
Return to index