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Poison protection for children in the household – parents beware!


March 20, 2023 is the day of the protection against poisoning for children in the household. The day is intended to remind people how important it is to recognize potential sources of danger in the home and to take measures to protect children.

Sources of danger in the home

Children are curious and discover their surroundings every day. Small children feel their environment with their mouths, which is why it is so important to protect the child from dangerous objects and substances that are present in every ordinary family household. Cleaning agents, medicines, alcohol, parts of plants, but also the smallest objects such as button batteries can cause serious poisoning and, in the worst case, lead to irreversible damage to health and/or secondary diseases.

"That's why it's so important every day of the year - and especially on the day of poisoning protection - to make parents aware of existing sources of danger and to create awareness of intoxications and their clinical signs, but also of first aid measures," says Dr. medical Annalena Dehe.

To avoid accidents, parents should ensure that dangerous substances and objects are always kept out of the reach of children.

This includes not only the classic cleaning agents and medicines, but also, for example, e-cigarettes and their liquids, which have been found more and more in German households for several years. There is a risk of nicotine poisoning, which can even be life-threatening for children.

"Many parents underestimate the ever-changing range that children reach almost every day as they develop and the dangers that objects and substances in ordinary households pose," says Dr. medical Lukas Dehé, Managing Director of 12minutes.

What to do if a child has swallowed something supposedly poisonous?

Accidents happen. And sometimes parents don't have everything in view and the children find something poisonous in an unobserved moment. It doesn't always have to be the caustic cleaning agent, it can also be berries, mushrooms or parts of plants from the garden. Often it is not clear whether or how much of a substance was swallowed.

In a search situation with a child surrounded by, for example, parts of plants, medication blisters or cleaning agents, parents should always open the child's mouth briefly and use their finger to remove any residue of tablets, berries or similar from the mouth. The emergency services should now be called as quickly as possible and the responsible poison control center should be contacted directly afterwards.

First the emergency services, then the poison control center

The poison control center serves as a telephone contact point for all poisoning emergencies, both for private individuals and thus often parents, as well as for medical professionals. In most cases, however, the questions are for children aged 0-6 years.

Most often, the poison control center can give the caller immediate advice and parents or any other caller can proceed directly with specific first aid measures or prepare for suspected complications.

Each federal state is assigned a poison control center or a so-called poison information center. The poison emergency number can be reached within most federal states on 19240 from landline and mobile networks.

The joint poison information center of the federal states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, which is located in Erfurt, can be reached on 0361 730 730.

It is best to save the relevant number of the Giftnoruf directly and be prepared for an emergency that hopefully never occurs!

This post does not replace medical treatment, it is for information only.

About the emergency doctors and 12minutes:

  • In Germany, it takes an average of 12 minutes for the rescue service to arrive

  • To give parents the skills to help effectively in those 12 minutes, Dr. medical Annalena Dehe and Dr. medical Lukas Dehé founded 12minutes

  • As parents of 3-year-old twins and emergency doctors (including rescue helicopters), first aid is an affair of the heart for Annalena and Lukas

  • First aid for babies and children is very different from first aid for adults. Therefore, there is still a great need for knowledge, even for parents who have completed a first-aid course, for example as part of their driver's license

  • Existing offers of first aid courses are either offline (inflexible, one-off) or online (no practical exercise

  • 12minutes and the innovative emergency training dummy combine practical exercise and theory and make learning first aid possible from the comfort of your own home, flexibly and regularly repeatable

  • 12minutes GmbH was founded in May 2022 and will be offering the emergency manikin with video course from November 2022

dr medical Annalena Dehé – Specialist in internal medicine, emergency doctor and lecturer in emergency medicine

dr medical Lukas Dehé – Specialist in anaesthesiology, emergency doctor in rescue helicopters and lecturer in emergency medicine