University of São Paulo: Chemicals and children, a dangerous combination

Anyone who has a child at home knows that they can’t neglect a minute. When they are in the age group of 1 to 4 years, curiosity is very high, for this reason, attention must be redoubled. Cristina Andrusaitis Sandron, pharmacist and coordinator of Ceatox ( Toxicological Assistance Center) at Hospital das Clínicas, FMUSP , reminds us that, many times, access to toxic products is very easy. “That phase in which the child is very curious, started to walk, crawl, starts to open everything and takes the product packaging to see what is inside” is the one that requires the most attention.


Detergent, bleach, products to clean the toilet and fabric softener, which are usually within reach of children’s hands, are the ones most at risk. The pharmacist recalls that many parents buy products in bulk, which is a danger. “They are not always well labeled and there are those who keep them in easily accessible places.” Seeking to prevent accidents from happening, parents or responsible adults should take some precautions, as the Ceatox coordinator explains. “The first thing is to store them in high and locked places, because they are very smart. They manage to catch a ladder. We have many cases of children taking a stool, climbing on top of dressers, in drawers. So it’s not enough to leave it at the top, you have to leave it locked and guide that it’s a dangerous thing”, informs Cristina.



Danger surrounds children aged 1 to 4 years
The attendance rates show that accidents are more common in the age group from 1 to 4 years old, but attention is recommended until around 9 years old, because children of this age often lack discernment. In case of an accident, such as, for example, the ingestion of a chemical product, calm is the recommendation. According to Cristina, nothing should be done without a doctor’s recommendation. “Don’t make yourself vomit, don’t give water, don’t give milk, because in many situations this will make the intoxication worse.” The toxicity or not in an accident depends on the volume of product ingested.“Sometimes you ingest a small amount of a product that is very toxic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a high intake. So, let’s consider everything equally as if they were toxic and not leave any to people’s access”, guides the expert.

Ceatox works 24 hours a day and, in case of an emergency, it can help and indicate how to act. “At the time of care, the on-call doctor will get some information to be able to check if what the patient is presenting really matches the ingestion of the product, because, sometimes, the person thinks it is something, but, in fact, he ingested it. other. Guidance will be given to see if the person can stay at home or if they need to go to an emergency room or health center for care.”

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