Safe Kids New Jersey offers ‘Home Safe Home’ kits

BY Lauren Wanko, Correspondent |

16-month old Quinn just started walking all over the house. Mom Jan Montesano always tries to be a step ahead of her curious explorer.

“It’s the most important thing to me. I just want to make sure that my son is always safe and everything is put away from him,” said Montesano.

For Jan, that means everything from cleaning supplies and other household items to cosmetics. She’s on the right track says Safe Kids New Jersey’s Carol Ann Giardelli since the majority of poisonings happen in the homes.

“Naturally, as children develop they begin to explore often times exploration is done with their hands and often with their mouths it’s all part of natural development of childhood so if a young child sees a very tempting colorful pill or a laundry pod, the first inclination is to put it in their mouths and that’s where the danger occurs.” said Giardelli.

“Children find hazards everywhere,” according to Medical Director Dr. Diane Calello.

The New Jersey Poison Information & Education System handles about 50 to 55,000 calls a year from residents and health care professionals. About half of those calls involve young children ages one to six.

“There are a lot of things in the home that can cause a very severe medical illness or even death in a child. Some of the most common things kids get into are household cleaners, cosmetics and personal care products,” said Calello.

Sadly, young children can easily get their tiny hands on medications found on tables or in purses, and the products in the laundry room can be just as harmful if ingested, especially laundry pods.

“They are a concentrated packet with a concentrated chemical agent inside so when mixed with water or saliva, the chemical releases and therefore can cause the poisoning of a child,” said Giardelli.

Lots of parents store household cleaning supplies underneath the sink, but Safe Kids New Jersey says those items should be moved out of sight and out of reach.  If those items need to be stored in lower cabinets, they should be locked at all times using safety latches. Those are included in Safe Kids Home kits, provided to families in need. They are full of items parents can use to keep their little ones safe.

Jan uses locks on her cabinets. Quinn is allowed access to one.

“Everything else is hands off, absolutely.” said Montesano.

“There’s no such thing as child proof, there’s child resistant. All they do is buy time so it gives parents or caregivers a couple seconds when that 2-year-old who’s always into something gets into something before they can actually put something in their mouth,” said Calello.

If you do suspect a child’s been exposed to a poison, call the national hotline says the doctor which connects people to regional poison specialists. As for Jan no doubt her active toddler will keep her busy, but the payoff for all her hard work in keeping him out of harm’s way? A safe happy boy.