Poison Prevention Tips

Every year, more than 72,600 children ages 5 and under visit the emergency room for unintentional poisoning.  About 40 percent will be poisoned by prescription drugs and other medicines.  Ninety percent of child poisonings happen in a home.  They even happen in homes without children (when kids visit), and they happen when people bring medicine into homes where children live.  Young children are very curious and cannot yet read.  They often cannot tell the difference between things such as juice or candy, and a potential poison.  Their curious nature may lead them to ingest a substance that can be very harmful to them.  So take the following steps to keep children safe in your home:

  • Keep medication and harmful products locked up and out of a child’s sight and reach.
  • NEVER call medicine “candy.”
  • Buy medicine and household products in childproof containers.
  • NEVER leave alcohol within a child’s reach.
  • Seek help if a child swallows a substance that is not food.  Call the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) or your doctor if a child swallows a poisonous substance.
  • Keep the following numbers near your phone:


Poison Control Center:





  • Syrup of Ipecac is no longer recommended for poisoning ingestion. Activated Charcoal is the agent of choice, and can be obtained over-the– counter.  However, activated charcoal is difficult to get children to swallow so we recommend not wasting time but rather just going to the emergency room.
  • Keep all products in their original containers. NEVER put inedible products in food or beverage containers.
  • Teach children not to drink or eat anything unless it came from an adult.
  • If your home was built before 1978, test for lead-based paint and get your child tested for lead exposure.  Children inhale the dust of lead-based paint and can build up enough lead in their blood to affect intelligence, growth and development.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home.  Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that builds up around fuel-burning appliances and cars in garages.  It can make a child seriously ill in concentrations that would barely affect an adult.
  • Be alert for repeated poisonings. Children who swallow a poison are likely to do so again within a year.

 Discuss these precautions with grandparents and caregivers.  They may have medications that can be very dangerous to children and their homes might not be as well childproofed as yours.  For more information on poisoning or other childhood safety topics, log on to www.safekidsgf.com or e-mail us at safekids@altru.org.

Resolution Wrap-Up: Did the Organizing Spree Last?

     Well, I’m writing to report in on my organization project for January. I am proud to say my upstairs is completely organized and is actually managing to stay such. My basement, however, is another matter. I did about 2/3 of it before my doctor ordered to me to cut back on my activity. Fortunately I got the hardest 2/3 done before this time came. What is left are things like my TV cabinet, the closet full of baby gear, and another full of blankets we never use. The baby gear I know is about to be gone through, so I’m not too worried about that. The TV stand is going to be replaced soon, so that will take care of itself too. As for the blankets? Well, we’ll deal with that when the time comes. I love rationalizing my inability to complete a project!
     As for what I learned over the course of this month, the main thing really was, keep a list! My list of every closet/drawer/ cabinet really kept me motivated. I got to the point where I looked forward to crossing stuff off each time. However, I also learned you might as well start another list, one of the little projects you run into along the way. This way you don’t get sidetracked. For instance, as I cleaned the future nursery closet out, I found a tote of toddler clothes. Instead of sorting it and extending the time allotted for the nursery closet, I started a second list of things to do after the main house was done.
     What has surprised me most of all was the fact that things are STAYING organized. It’s almost like in Field of Dreams, but instead of dead baseball players showing up on my lawn, objects are miraculously returning to their allotted spaces. “If you organize it, your husband will follow.” Does that mean it was really needed? Possibly. More likely, things were put in logical places at last. Yes, I always wondered why I tried to cram my shoes and my broom together in a closet despite getting whacked in the head by the broom every time I left the house.
     Even more shocking is that my 2 year old is getting on board and is showing real progress in the ‘picking up toys’ department each night. As long as I do it with him, he is all for putting stuff away. He has even caught on that his toy veggies go in his toy fridge.
     One thing I wish I did have right now is a labeler. I’m not normally that anal, but with being on and off of bed rest, my husband and other family have picked up the slack on various cleaning activities. It would be much easier if they could simply open a closet door and have all the baskets labeled for them. I’m under the impression this would be even more awesome for a family with reading children or who is always on the go. As for me, my husband recently received my birthday wish list for Amazon, complete with labeler….let’s see if he goes for it. LOL
     The last thing I learned is to not fight clutter so hard. If you have a spot where things pile up, look at the stuff in the pile and determine if maybe if should be allocated to something specific and simply make it neater. In our house, it’s the buffet counter. There’s always various mail, wallets, cell phones, etc. spread out across it. Instead of trying to change a pretty deeply ingrained habit (believe me I tried), I worked to make it nicer. I found a decorative basket that all the small stuff like coupons and gadgets get tossed into as we walk by each day. For the mail, which tends to stack up when my hubby travels, I put a folder on the counter that I can easily toss in a drawer when I want it out of sight. Every week or so I take the folder, go through it, and file what I need to.
     All in all, I’d say my project was a success, despite the bed-rest set back. If I’d been able to work the whole month, I know I would’ve easily finished the whole. (The garage is HIS department!) I’ve been allowed more activity again so I’ve started to do brief organizing projects in the basement to complete the rest of the list and work things so I can do them sitting down. I call it ‘lazy work’ and I’m working on making it into an art-form!

If you’ve got a toddler heading for a big bed, watch for my next blog next week: A Week in Transition-Our Adventure in moving to the Big Boy Bed.

Getting Organized- Realistically. Part 1

I read that this year people have decided that getting organized is just as important to them as losing weight or saving money. Maybe its because getting organized is easier to do and last longer, but who knows. All I am sure about is if you read the home improvement magazines and web sites, there are a gazillion suggestions on how to accomplish order in your home. I found two problems however. Firstly, the ‘professionals’ plans for organizing usually end up costing more money that throwing everything out and starting over; and second, they still save more than I would which requires more time. Here, I’m all about getting things done fast. So here are my suggestions for getting organized for a normal family.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I am doing this project as I write about it, so you know this isn’t just some random, unrealistic ideas. When we moved into our new house last summer it was a week shy of our wedding. I was far more concerned with unpacking than organizing. As a result, all the stuff that used to fit neatly into 800 sq. ft. now seems to bulge in our 2400 sq. ft home.  This is my philosophy going into the project, read next time to see how it’s going!

Make a list: My husband teases me about my lists because I use them…alot.  But I’m one of those people that is too forgetful to go without them. So, I made a list of all of my drawers, cabinets, and closets to cross off as I go. This also helps to make me feel a sense of accomplishment. The ‘professionals’ say do a room at a time so you can see visible results. My two year old says, “Do what I might be interested in while I’m sleeping or you’ll have a HUGE mess.”

Have a Goal: Originally my goal was to organize in the winter as I got time. A new pregnancy, nursery, and guest room to be finished has pushed that deadline up to ASAP.   Thus my New Year’s resolution became to organize one drawer, cabinet or closet per day, which should take me about 30 days total. Also, because some closets needed to be organized simultaneously, I’ve allowed some ‘banking’ ahead or behind but I make sure 7 are done each week no matter what.

Cloth bins are cute but….: I’ve noticed that organizing things into cute, color coordinated, labeled cloth covered totes or boxes fill the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. I won’t argue, a part of me very much wanted to mimic this look…until I went to buy them. The cheapest I found was $7.00 for a medium to large size, and these weren’t nearly as cute as in pictures. So then I was forced to chose, pretty and expensive, or cheap white baskets.  What made the decision? When I realized that nobody is going to see those pretty cloth totes in my closet.  So instead I left the store with a few white baskets of each size, knowing I will use them all.  Normally though, I would recommend you plan ahead how many of each size you will need.   Save the pretty bins for places people will see.

Cut your losses: I have a rule that has served us well in our 4 years together. If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. If it is something you only use once a year and maybe missed a year, go ahead and give it one more year.  (This doesn’t happen often).  Also, if you have a sentimental attachment, I will concede that some things just don’t get thrown away, however evaluate that attachment. Is it something that belonged to your grandmother or is it the first beer glass you ever bought. Save Grandma, let the beer glass go on to make the next college kid happy. If it helps, I couldn’t let mine all go in the same year either, but my collection is dwindling. I see everything but the fancier Bud Light glasses going in the ‘rummage sale box’ this year.

Papers and Magazines: I’m attacking this with the idea that a lot of stuff is online and I can really downsize the amount of paper we keep around here. I get one magazine each month, which I read, take the interesting stuff from it that I want, then recycle the magazine.  Then the stuff I’ve taken out falls into the 1 year rule. As for important papers, such as monthly bills, if I can’t access it online or if something on it could come into question in the next year, I file it for a year. If otherwise, it goes in the shredder. Up until now we’ve saved everything for a year…I’m eager to see how this affects the file cabinet.

Tune in next time to see how these plans work for our house and maybe get an idea how they’ll work for yours.  OH…and how much the kids will actually let me accomplish!