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‘Keep them out of sight’: El Paso doctor sees increase in children exposed to cleaning products

EL PASO, Texas -- Local doctors say exposures to household cleaning products increased dramatically during the height of the pandemic. As kids have more time on their hands during the summer, it's important to keep an eye on items in order to prevent your kids from getting sick.

Dr. Sarah Watkins with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, and the West Texas Regional Poison Center said she's seen a huge increase in calls during the pandemic, with more kids being exposed to household cleaning products.

A majority of those kids were under the age of 5, according to Watkins. The most common signs of poisoning are nausea and vomiting. Thankfully, Watkins said many of the kids infected only ingested small amounts.

"We always say the dose makes the poison, which means if you have a higher dose, it's going to be more poisonous.' Dr. Watkins said. "Luckily, for these kids who are getting exposed, it usually was only a very small amount. And that meant they usually only had mild symptoms and actually could stay at home and just be watched by their parents for a couple of hours."

The American Academy of Pediatrics also urges parents to keep hand sanitizers out of children's reach. Alcohol poisoning in kids, depending on how much is ingested, could cause low blood sugar, seizures, coma and death.

"I think just the most important thing is keep all those products up and away from kids. Keep them out of sight so that the child doesn't see them doesn't think to put them in their mouth doesn't just don't give your child that opportunity," Watkins said.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for storing your cleaning products according to the West Texas Regional Poison Center:

  • Follow the instructions on the label when you use and store household chemicals.
  • Store products in their original containers.
  • Keep all household products and medicines locked up, out of sight and reach.
  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after each use. Child resistant does not mean child proof.
  • Use child-resistant locks on cabinets and cupboards containing medicines, toiletries, household cleaners, and garden products.
  • Wear gloves or goggles when you use these materials.
  • Take time to teach children about poisonous substances.

If your child is exposed call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222. For more, click here.

Coronavirus / El Paso / Local News / News / Video

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.


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