Life Lessons: Poisoning dangers at home
Thirty kids in the U.S. are injured by chemicals called hydrocarbons every day.
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 without knowing 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, little Jaxon found the polish.
"He had somehow gotten the lid off and had swallowed it," recalls Jaxon's mother, Brittany Linger.
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," explains 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 says, "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," McKenzie says.
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 warns, "It only takes a second and kids are very quick."
Advice Brittany takes to heart.
"They call him the miracle baby around the hospital," says Brittany.
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 1-800-222-1222 or go directly to the ER.
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