This is where we will share our children's health opinion pieces, advice, tips and tricks, resources and so much more. Check back here frequently for the latest baby and child health news and insight from us!
The holiday season is a happy and exciting time but with it, comes some specific poisoning risks for kids (and adults).
How many of the top 10 did you guess?
The cover image for this blog is of a chicken filet, after 30 minutes and 4 hours of exposure to a button battery.
We talk about button batteries often, as they can be extremely dangerous if a baby or child is able to access one. At Christmas time this is especially true – toys, flashing decorations, and Christmas cards that make noise, are sometimes powered by button batteries.
NSW Poisons Information centre has these tips to prevent little ones from finding a button battery:
If you or someone you know ingests a button battery, make sure not to eat, drink or induce vomiting, and immediately call 000 if the person has any difficulty breathing or decreased level of consciousness. if they otherwise look well but you suspect/know they have ingested a button battery immediately contact the Poisons Centre on 131126. and follow their instructions on going to your nearest hospital.
Many adults like to enjoy a drink at Christmas celebrations. These drinks often look appealing to kids. Alcohol can be very toxic to kids so it is important that nobody leaves alcoholic drinks lying around. If any suspected ingestion occurs, contact the Poisons Centre for advice in 131126.
BBQ Cleaning products
Cleaning the BBQ or oven for Christmas lunch can pose several risks as these cleaning products contain strong chemicals that can cause serious burns. When using these products, make sure to wear gloves and consider wearing eye protection to minimise risks. If you or a child is exposed flush the area with running water for 15-20 minutes and contact the poisons centre for advice on 131126.
Christmas is an exciting and busy time of the year with visitors coming to stay and routines disrupted. Easily accessible handbags with painkillers or prescription medications are a huge risk for little ones, who can become seriously ill if any are ingested. Remind all visitors to keep medications stored in an area out of reach of children. If any medication error occurs, contact the Poisons Centre for advice on 131126.
Borax for slime projects
Making slime can be a fun holiday activity with the kids, and is a popular gift. Sometimes, these products promote the use of borax which can be potentially poisonous. To prevent poisonous exposures it is important to keep borax stored out of reach of children. An adult should be the only person to handle the pure borax powder and supervise all slime making activities (not all slime recipes/products use borax, check the ingredients list). If you or anyone you know comes in contact with borax contact the Poisons Centre for advice on 131126.
Food, glorious food! One of the best parts of the festive season is all the special foods we get to eat – from the Christmas pav, to Dad’s famous ham. Make sure to always consider preparation, storage and cooking methods when serving up your Christmas feast. Whilst food poisoning can occur at any time of the year, there is an increase in incidence during summer as conditions are favourable for bacteria growth. If food is stored, prepared and cooked properly, the risk will be minimal. A few helpful tips for some traditional Christmas dishes are:
Feast away, but if any concerns arise, contact the Poisons Centre for advice on 131126.
Christmas pudding with coins
Is this a Christmas tradition in your family? The discovery of a coin in your Christmas pudding is meant to bring good luck, health, wealth and happiness to the recipient. The traditional use of a sixpence coin does not contain copper, however, the use of any coins currently used in Australia (yes, all cents and dollars!) can react with the acids in the fruit pudding. Another major concern with this dessert is choking on or swallowing the coin. Avoid giving to children and make sure anybody consuming this type of pudding is aware and cautious! If necessary contact the Poisons Centre for advice on 131126.
Who doesn’t love a Christmas swim? This is an iconic part of the Australian Summer holiday season. Pool maintenance products contain various chemicals many of which can cause irritation, burns or respiratory symptoms if ingested, inhaled or they come in contact with the skin or eyes. A few tips from NSW Poisons Information Centre to reduce risks and stay safe are:
If exposed to pool chemicals rinse the skin/eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes and contact the Poisons Centre for advice on 131126.
Science Chemistry sets
These are another popular gift and an exciting holiday experiment for a child, but certain ingredients can pose poisoning concerns when ingested or handled incorrectly. Some tips from NSW Poisons Information Centre to follow when performing an experiment with children are:
If exposed to any chemicals rinse the skin/eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes and contact the Poisons Centre for advice on 131126.
Many children’s toys contain magnets. Swallowing magnets may cause life-threatening damage, particularly when they are attracted to one another across internal tissues such as the bowel. Ideally, any magnets in toys should be too large for a child to swallow, and activities involving magnets (and children) should be supervised. To avoid ingestion of magnets, they should be counted on completion of play to ensure none are missing and stored out of reach of children. If ingestion occurs, call the Poisons Centre for advice on 131126
All information above has been taken from “Top 10 Christmas Poisoning Risks” originally published by The NSW Poisons Information Centre in 2018
In this video paediatric nurse and founder of CPR Kids Sarah Hunstead steps you through the prevention, recognition and response to choking in babies and children. Essential knowledge for every family that you don’t want to miss.
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