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The sad truth is that the home is the most dangerous place for young Israeli children when it comes to accidental poisoning. It is at home that 94% of child poisoning occurs.
In total, in 2021, 18,136 cases of poisoning and exposure to harmful substances in children under the age of six were registered at the National Poison Center of the Ministry of Health. This figure is 44% of the total (41,400) registered cases over the past year.
More than half of the poisonings of young children are caused by drugs (55% of all cases). Another 44% of – a consequence of exposure to chemicals, especially household cleaners.
In the study, parents of children under the age of six were asked how they store cleaning products and medicines. Interim results showed that 13% of respondents keep medicines intended for children in a low and accessible place, and in 32% of cases in the refrigerator, which is also available to many children. An almost similar pattern was observed in the storage of medicines for adults.
More alarming data was found in a survey concerning household chemicals. Half of the respondents answered that they keep laundry and cleaning products in a place accessible to children. In addition, 18% transfer detergents from the original container to another, unlabeled container. And only 17% of the parents surveyed had previously received instructions on safe storage from their patronage nurses or pediatricians.
“These findings explain the large number of cases we are seeing where young children are exposed to life-threatening substances,” said Dr. Yael Lurie, director of the National Center for Poisons.
Based on this data, the center decided to launch a pilot program to provide information and helpful tools to new parents before they take their baby home from the hospital. A nurse in the neonatal unit will instruct parents on safe behavior, it is also planned to distribute fridge magnets with 10 simple safety rules to parents. In the future, NTR is preparing to bring important information to mother and child centers, educators and the preschool education system.
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