Mommy Minute: Calls to poison control centers spike amid the pandemic


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With the Coronavirus pandemic, there’s been an increase in the demand for household cleaning products. An unintended side effect of that is that poison control centers have seen a major increase in the number of kids who are exposed to these products.

Safe Kids Worldwide estimates there’s been a 70 percent increase in hand sanitizer exposures and calls for all cleaning products and disinfectants went up 20 percent from the same time last year.

Experts say with children at home more and participating in remote learning, parents are stressed and sometimes even distracted by their own work from home situations.

“There was recently a report released by poison control centers that shows there’s a signifcant uptick, I mean the line swoops up in terms of the number of cases we’re seeing of ingestion of clearning products,” said Dr. Sadiqa Kendi of Boston Medical Center. “It’s a problem. It’s a problem I’ve seen, my colleagues have seen and it’s a problem on a national level.”

So what can parents do to protect their families?

Dr. Kendi said they should keep all household cleaning products in their original container. Don’t transfer cleaners into unlabeled or clear bottles that might make them appear to be something they’re not.

Keep all products not only out of reach, but out of sight. Children can be curious by something out of their reach and attempt to climb on something to retrieve it.

Also, she said parents should memorize the number to Poison Control and don’t hesitate to call if you think your child might have been exposed to something harmful.

The number is 1-800-222-1222. The hotline is open 24 hours a day. There, you can receive free and confidential expert medical advice.

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