New Warnings About Protecting Children from Dangerous Substances in the Home

Photo © Istock.

As we report in a June news article, findings from several recent studies have underscored the importance of educating parents on how to keep younger children as well as older adolescents safe from exposure to dangerous substances they might accidentally ingest or deliberately seek out. Nurses can talk to parents about safe storage, ask questions about the presence of potentially hazardous substances in the home, and provide information about risks and precautions.

MARIJUANA

A study of the National Poison Data System found an increase in the rate of marijuana exposure (including edible products) among children younger than six. The rates were higher in states that had legalized the use of marijuana—an implication to be aware of as more states do the same.

HAND SANITIZERS

Another study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, identified health risks in young children who had ingested alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The researchers drew attention to dangers associated with inadequate safety precautions when these products are used with young children, as well as the possibility that older children might abuse them. […]

2017-06-12T09:32:38+00:00 June 12th, 2017|Nursing, pediatrics|0 Comments

Chemical Exposure: A Preventable Cause of Harm to Children’s Health

“Children are often exposed to. . . contaminants through their behavior—when they crawl on the floor or explore their environment by touching and tasting objects indiscriminately. In addition, because they are young, there is the potential for environmental exposures to negatively impact their health for a long time.”

Photo © Associated Press

Chemicals are ubiquitous

In “Project TENDR,” an article in this month’s issue of AJN, author Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, a professor at the Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, discusses why children are particularly susceptible to environmental exposures to chemicals.

Aside from children’s vulnerability to chemical exposures as still developing individuals, Anderko observes that chemicals are also especially hazardous to children simply because they are everywhere: “ . . . in health care supplies and equipment, the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the cosmetics and personal products (such as shampoos, baby bottles, toys, and thousands of other consumer products) we use.”

Developmental harms of children’s exposure to chemicals

Anderko summarizes the concerns raised by a growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures and pediatric health outcomes:

“ . . . widespread exposure to toxic chemicals can increase the risk of cognitive, behavioral, and social impairment in […]

Nurse-Led Evidence-Based Sleep Program Helps Hospitals and New Mothers Keep Babies Safe

Photo © Associated Press. Photo © Associated Press.

I can remember, when I was pregnant, reading everything I could get my hands on about every mother’s fear—sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). My mother, who followed the norms of her time when I was born, was surprised that my son’s crib was bare—no blankets, pillows, toys, or bumpers. He wore a sleep sack and was placed on his back to sleep until he began to roll over by himself.

To add to what I learned from my preparatory reading, the nurses at the hospital I gave birth in set a standard for how to care for my newborn—explaining the abovementioned safe sleep tips, and much more. After all, nurses are probably a mom’s first stop for this information, helping new mothers navigate the choppy waters of caring for their newborns.

This month’s Cultivating Quality article, “An Evidence-Based Infant Safe Sleep […]

2016-11-21T13:00:48+00:00 November 18th, 2016|Nursing, patient safety, pediatrics|11 Comments

Dosing Cups, Oral Syringes, or Spoons: A Pediatric Medication Safety Recipe for Disaster?

pediatricdosingA recent article I came across in Pediatrics said that researchers found (during laboratory experiments) that four out of five parents made at least one dosing error when using either a dosing cup or an oral syringe to dispense liquid medication meant for children. As a new parent who has grappled with multiple dosing tools, I can’t say I am surprised.

Growing up, I remember syrupy medicines being doled out by my mother on spoons of varying size—a teaspoon or tablespoon—not a very accurate method when you also factor in that most spoons differ in shape and, probably, actual volume.

After my son had his first round of vaccines, the nurse told me that, in case he had a fever that night, the standard dose of Tylenol for his size and age was 80 mg. He didn’t get a fever in the end, and I didn’t think about what she’d told me until he had his first fever from a cold several months later.

When I went to open my box of Tylenol, I saw that the syringe that came with it did not use the dosage the nurse had told me (in milligrams), but rather, milliliters. I looked on the box for instructions but it only listed the dose […]

2016-11-21T13:00:52+00:00 November 1st, 2016|patient safety, pediatrics|0 Comments