Super Sitter: Poison: Food for thought only!


Not everything that goes into a child's mouth falls into the category of food. Too often, what ends up in mouths and stomachs may be deadly! Growing children are curious about things that glitter and shine, pretty colored pills, bottles and containers of all kinds, and what's in them. Children under the age of five are in stages of growth where they are constantly exploring and investigating. This is how they learn. Unfortunately, what children see and reach for, they put into their mouths and swallow.

Every year thousands of youngsters across the country receive emergency hospital or doctor's care because of accidental poisoning. These are chiefly children under five who have ingested some common household item which suddenly becomes poison in the wrong hands (and mouths). These include medicines, cleaning products and preparations, insect sprays, lighter fluid and kerosene, turpentine and paints. You can help prevent accidental poisonings, while baby sitting and in your own home too. Here are some things you should remember:

  • All household products and medicines should be stored out of sight and reach of young children -- preferably locked up!

    (If you are sitting where household cleaning agents are stored under the sink and you are in charge of a "crawler" -- or the medicine cabinet is accessible to a "climber" -- you can put protective tape across the front of the cabinet as an extra precaution.)

  • As a baby sitter you should not be expected to give any medication. But in certain circumstances, you may be asked to give a medication during the time the parents are away. If it is absolutely necessary that you do this, have the parents leave explicit, written instructions for you.


  1. Read the label on the container carefully as well as the instructions from the parents.
  2. Never leave the child alone with the medication. If the phone rings take the medication with you.
  3. Return the medication to its safe storage place with the safety closure on securely.
  4. Do not call the medication candy.
  5. Do not give the medication in the dark.
  6. Do not take any medication yourself in the presence of the child.
  7. Be careful of what you might be bringing into the house.
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