Most caregivers ignorant about toxic household items

May 31st, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 31 (IANS) Primary caregivers, who look after small children, seem to be ill informed about potentially toxic household items, according to a new and alarming study. The study shows that less than a third of such caregivers - especially those caring for children under the age of 6 - could correctly estimate the toxicity of household poisons.

The study, by researchers at the Albert Einstein Medical Centre, involved screening primary caregivers who visited emergency departments, and asked participants to identify toxic items from a list of common household products.

“Young children are at risk of household chemical ingestion and their caretakers often do not have good understanding how toxic those chemicals are,” said Rika N. O’Malley, who led the study.

“Parental education needs to be focussed more on younger caretakers with more children.”

However, the study did identify a number of factors that increased the likelihood of knowledge of household poisons.

These include more education, responsibility for fewer children and an age greater than 23 years.

The research provides practical information about poison prevention. The authors believe that education from primary care physicians can target at-risk populations for poison prevention and education.

The study was presented Friday at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s 2008 annual meeting in Virginia.

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