Dangers for children you may not be aware of

Beware of products that contain hydrocarbons

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Today 30 kids in the U.S. will be injured by chemicals called hydrocarbons. You may not have heard the name, but chances are you have some in your home right now. Hydrocarbons are found in things like gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, and furniture polish. You may be putting your children in danger and not even know it.

Josh and Brittany Linger have always shared their love of music with their kids, but it was a simple bottle of guitar polish that almost destroyed their family.  As little boys do, Jaxon found the polish.

"He had somehow gotten the lid off and had swallowed it," recalled Jaxon's mother, Brittany.

Jaxon spent three weeks in the hospital. Doctors say it was inhaling the chemicals known as hydrocarbons in the polish that almost killed him.

"Usually if a kid takes a drink or a sip of something and then they go, uh, and it goes into their lungs," explained Lara McKenzie, PhD, from Nationwide Children's Hospital. "So you're going to know I think right away if your child is poisoned."

Hydrocarbons cause a chemical burn in the lungs.

McKenzie said, "The recovery process can be pretty long."

A new study by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital shows that between 2000 and 2009, more than 100,000 injuries were reported in children due to hydrocarbons. That's more than an injury an hour, and most often in the summertime.

"Products are probably in the home throughout the year, but really get used and brought out during the summer months," said McKenzie.

Keep liquids like gasoline, lighter fluid, and kerosene in their original childproof bottles, store them high up and in a locked cabinet, and never leave your children alone when you are using any of these.

McKenzie warned, "It only takes a second and kids are very quick."

Advice Brittany takes to heart.

"They call him the miracle baby around the hospital," she said.

Hydrocarbon poisoning is the third leading cause of poisoning death in children under five years old. If you suspect your child has been poisoned, call the National Poison Center at 800-222-1222 or go directly to the ER.

Additional Information:

In 2010, half of all of the calls to Poison Control Centers involved a child 5 years old or younger. These poisons can be anything from medications to bleach, and many are found in common products kept in homes across the country. In fact, nine out of 10 poisonings occur within the home. Keep your household a safe one by finding out what products to watch out for, keeping dangerous chemicals out of reach of kids, and knowing what to do if a poisoning does occur. (Source: safekids.org)

Top 5 Most Dangerous: The 5 most common household products that poison a child are:

  • Cosmetics and Personal Hygiene Products – Personal care products were the top substance in child poisonings in 2011. This can include items such as nail polish remover, perfume, and even hair spray.
  • Painkillers – Children sometimes see parents taking medications and then want to imitate the behavior. While painkillers can be especially harmful, even certain vitamins could make a child ill.
  • Household Cleaners – Things like bleach and drain cleaner can be fatal if a child swallows it, so keep any cleaners out of reach of children. Laundry detergent pods have become a recent problem because kids think they are food.
  • Topical Creams – Certain ointments, medicated creams, and lotions are poisonous if ingested. Be especially vigilant with items used for children, like diaper rash cream, which they have more access to.
  • Toys – Items used in arts and crafts such as paint and glue can be poisonous, and toys with small parts, magnets, or batteries pose a choking risk.

(Source: consumerreports.org)

Stay Safe: To help prevent a poisoning from taking place in your home, put all medications, cleaning solutions, and personal hygiene products in an area where children can't reach them. Also keep track of how much medication you have left in prescription bottles and never tell a child medicine is like candy. Don't leave cleaning supplies out unattended; that even includes leaving the room for a few minutes. Finally, if anything does happen immediately call 911 or poison control. (Source: kidshealth.org)

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