Common household products potentially dangerous to kids

Nearly half of calls to Poison Control concern young children

SAN ANTONIO – The number of young children getting into things around the house that can be harmful is staggering. 

Recent data show that out of 2 million calls to poison control centers, nearly half concerned kids age 6 and under.  

Smily Tapia got the scare of her life when she realized her daughter had swallowed  a button battery.

"She opened the toy and put the battery in her mouth," she said. "I thought she was going to die."

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit group, more than 2,800 kids per year in the U.S. are treated in ERs after swallowing nickel-sized batteries.

Not only are they choking hazards, the battery can burn a child’s esophagus.

Consumer Reports suggests that toys and other household electronics have battery compartments secured with a screwdriver or other method.  

There are more dangers in your house you might not even think about. Exposure to cosmetics and personal care products were the most common reasons for reports to poison control centers for children under 6.

"Many of them contain ethanol, which is the same type of alcohol you find in alcoholic beverages. Just a small amount can cause a young child of, say, 25 pounds or less to become extremely intoxicated," said Don Huber, Consumer Reports product safety expert.

Also dangerous: cleaning products. When it comes to these items, you can do more than just store them out of the reach of children. Keep cleaners and other products in the containers in which they were bought because they usually have child-resistant closures.

As for those colorful laundry detergent pods that can look like candy, Consumer Reports recommends not even having them in the house if you have young kids.

Even if you put some of these products in a higher place, a curious child may  use a chair to reach them. 

If you suspect that your child has ingested some kind of toxic product, call the national Poison Help Hotline at 800-222-1222 (available 24 hours a day). 

And call 911 if you see that your child has fainted, doesn't wake up, or is bleeding.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.