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Babysitters & Nannies: Things to know before the parents go

Posted: November 1st, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

If you are a babysitter/sitter/nanny, or ever entrust your precious progeny to one of them, then this article is for you.  About half of the IPC’s 80,000 exposures every year involve kids age 5 and under, and more than 90% of all exposures happen in the home.  I think we all would agree that keeping children safe is the most important part of babysitting.  Potentially harmful substances come in many forms (liquids, tablets, solids, sprays and gases), and can look or smell like things that are good to eat and drink. As you know, young children are curious, and they learn about their environment by touching and placing things in their mouths.

My motto has always been, “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”.  The time to ask questions is before the parents walk out, and when kids are involved, always prepare for the unexpected!  Below is a list of information to gather before you are left in charge (or leave others in charge of your child(ren): Read more »


The Latest Buzz about Kids, Teens and Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

If that second cup of coffee you just had doesn’t keep you awake tonight, here’s something that might.  A recent issue of Pediatrics reviewed the effects of caffeine and energy drinks on children, adolescents, and young adults and found several concerning conclusions.

Did you know that over 500 new energy drink products were marketed worldwide in the last year? Also, did you know that these products are NOT regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? Because of this lack of regulation, there is no maximum dose of caffeine in energy drinks. These products can contain high amounts of caffeine, a nervous system stimulant that is commonly found in your morning coffee, tea, and soft drinks.  While caffeinated products may claim to increase exercise endurance and improve mood and memory, they are not without adverse effects, especially at higher doses.   Read more »


Don’t Eat the Toothpaste!

Posted: February 1st, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Have you ever noticed the bold statement on the label of your toothpaste tube: “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age.  If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately?”  Pretty scary, huh?  Especially when this stuff is supposed to do such wonderful things like prevent cavities and gum disease, freshen breath, and give you that dazzling bright smile.   Read more »


“All I Did Was Go To The Bathroom And…”

Posted: October 19th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

By Tony

No, this is not our attempt to make shameless PG-rated “bathroom humor.”  I haven’t conducted any studies nor am I equipped with any concrete statistics; all I have is my 30 years of observations as a certified toxicologist and those of other Illinois Poison Center call center staff. Yet I ask you to consider the following:  the act of going to the bathroom provides enough time and opportunity for any adventurous and clever toddler to get into mischief, which may unfortunately lead to an unwarranted injury or exposure. Read more »