Tag Archives: safety tips

Poison Prevention and Treatment

When we think of dangerous poisons, items like rat poisoning or insecticides often come to mind.  But according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the vast majority of poisoning cases involve common medications or household products – items that we use every day.

Managing an incident of potential poisoning greatly depends on the amount of exposure and the type of substance that has been ingested. If you ever suspect any kind of poisoning, US Poison Control is here to help. Do not wait for symptoms to appear. Support is available online or by phone at 1-800-222-1222. Both options are free, expert, and confidential.

The top 5 toxicity queries made to US Poison Control each year are:

  1. Analgesics – pain relievers like acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (found in Advil and other products).
  2. Household Cleaning Products – including dish and laundry detergents (keep those colorful pods out of reach).
  3. Cosmetic and Personal Care Products – lipsticks, lotions, and other cosmetics, along with products containing fluoride, hand sanitizers and mouthwashes containing alcohol.
  4. Sedatives, Hypnotics and Antidepressants – of particular concern are benzodiazepines, which are sedatives like Valium and Xanax.
  5. Foreign Objects – think toys, silica gel packets, pen caps, glow sticks, button batteries (they can leak chemicals), sharp objects like a pin or nail, and magnets (which can damage tissue when they adhere to each other inside the body).

If you ever suspect a poisoning, remember these general guidelines:

  • Swallowed poisons: Don’t eat or drink anything before calling the Poison Control Center. Do not try to make the person throw up or give them syrup of ipecac.
  • Inhaled poisons: Get to fresh air right away. Open doors and windows to ventilate the area.
  • Poisons on the skin: Remove contaminated clothing and rinse the skin with water for 10 minutes.
  • Poison in the eye: Flush the eye for 15 minutes using a large cup filled with lukewarm water held 2-4 inches from the eye.
  • AND be sure to call 911 immediately: if a person stops breathing, collapses, or has a seizure.

Stopping for School Busses

With schools in session and many new au pairs who have recently arrived, I wanted to remind everyone about what to do in different situations with school buses. If you have questions, please ask me or your host parents.

The rules regarding stopping for school buses are:

  • It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its’ stop arm is extended.
  • On undivided roadways, with no physical barrier or median, vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.

Police, who observe a motorist failing to stop and remain stopped for a school bus, can issue the violator a citation which carries a $570.00 fine and 3 points. There are also cameras on buses and the camera-generated fine is $125. Drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk can be issued a citation for $80.00, and drivers failing to exercise due caution when encountering children can be issued a citation for $70.00.

For more information you can visit the DC Government website.

Top 10 Winter Driving Tips

Cold weather can bring a new set of driving challenges, especially if you are not from a climate where you have experience with these conditions. Driving in the snow and ice can be a challenge even for experienced drivers. If you don’t have to go out in bad weather, stay home. If you do have to go out, here are some tips. More information can be found on the AAA website.

Top 10 Winter Driving Tips

  1. Bulky coats and snowsuits should not be worn underneath the harness (straps) of a car seat. Check out information here and discuss with your host parents.
  2. Keep cold-weather supplies in your car, such as a blanket, a flashlight, window ice scraper, snacks and water.
  3. Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
  4. Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  5. Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  6. Avoid sudden moves, accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  7. Don’t stop going up a hill.
  8. Increase the following distance between you and the car ahead of you. 
  9. Know your brakes. Test our how they perform on slippery surfaces in a safe place where there are not other cars parked close to you.
  10. Leave early to give yourself extra time and drive slowly.

Even better… If you don’t have to go out driving in snow and ice, stay home.

This short video has some great information.

Photo: Steve Pisano (Flickr)