Safe Kids California works continuously with our partners to raise awareness of poison prevention strategies. As part of this effort we want to make sure all Californians are aware of the recently released Public Health Department Advisory warning about the toxicity of e-cigarettes. The nicotine, which is sold in liquid form in fruit, candy and alcohol flavors, is appealing to children and very toxic if it is touched or ingested.
E-cigarette cartridges and e-liquid bottles are not equipped with child resistant caps and often leak, creating a potential source of poisoning through ingestion and skin or eye contact. In California, from 2012 to 2014, the number of calls to the poison control center involving e-cigarette exposures in children five and under increased sharply from 7 to 154. By the end of 2014, e-cigarette poisonings to young children tripled in one year. According to a health advisory issued by the California Department of Public Health, even a small amount of liquid ingested by a small child can be lethal.
If the liquid is swallowed, DO NOT induce vomiting. However, if there is skin contact, it is important to quickly wash the area thoroughly with mild soap and lots of water. And, to protect children from exposure in the first place, we urge parents to keep e-cigarettes and the solutions used to refill them far out of reach of children. Always keep the Poison Help Line number at hand, 1-800-222-1222.
But let’s face it, nicotine isn’t the only danger. Sometimes kids get into things that they probably shouldn’t. Here are a few tips to keep little explorers from finding their way into household items that could be dangerous.
Half of the 2 million calls to Poison Help Number in 2011 involved children ages 5 and under. In fact, 9 out of 10 poisonings occur at home.
Medications are the leading cause of child poisonings and every year, more than 67,000 children go to an emergency room for medicine poisoning. That’s one child every eight minutes.
Program the Poison Control Help Line into your phone:
To initiate California Poisoning Control System text messaging service into your phone, text the word SAFEKIDS (SEGURO in Spanish) to 69866.
- Store all household products out of children’s sight and reach. Young kids are often eye-level with items under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. So any bleach, detergents, dishwasher liquid or cleaning solutions that are kept there should find a new storage location.
- Store poisonous items out of reach or use safety locks on cabinets within reach. These items also include detergent pods for the laundry and dishwasher. It only takes a few minutes, and it gives you one less thing to worry about.
- Read product labels to find out what can be hazardous to kids. Dangerous household items include makeup, personal care products, plants, pesticides, lead, art supplies, alcohol and carbon monoxide.
- Make sure that all medications, including vitamins and adult medicines, are stored out of reach and out of sight or children.
- Put the toll-free number Poison Help Number (1-800-222-1222) into your home and cell phones. You should also post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.
- Check for lead-based paint. Remove any peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
- Medication Safety Tips
- Medication Safety Tips (Spanish)
- 2014 Medication and Kids
- E-Cigarettes Brochure English
- E-Cigarettes Brochure Spanish
- Medications are the leading cause of accidental poisoning.Why?
- Why has there been a 30% spike in medication poisonings? Watch how easily 4-year-olds can open child-resistant safety caps.
- Poison Prevention for Families of Children with Special Needs
- Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids
- Association of Electronic Cigarette Use with Initiation of Combustible Tobacco Smoking in Early Adolescence
- Progression to Traditional Cigarette Smoking after Electronic Cigarettes Among Adolescents
- Longitudinal study of e-cigarette use and onset of cigarette smoking among high school students
- StillBlowingSmoke.org – a website geared toward older teens
- Tobacoo Free CA Facebook
- Poison Prevention Resources in Smart Parent Safe Kids Toolkit