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Juice Carton Surprise

Toddler behind gate to keep her away from poisoning dangers

When I was about five years old, my dad traveled to Germany on business and came back to our home in the Ukraine with some wonderful treats that I had never seen or tasted in my life. One of these treats was a carton of sweet, delicious pineapple juice. It was the most delightful thing I had ever tasted, and it didn’t take long to drink it all.

I noticed that for some reason, my parents stored the empty carton under the kitchen sink. With a glimmer of hope, I scooted myself cautiously across the floor, willing the juice carton to magically fill up with delicious liquid. I was quite surprised when I found that the carton contained something when I shook it. Excitedly, I began tipping the carton toward my mouth. As the inside of it neared my line of vision I saw not juice, but a couple of legs and antennae, followed by the full body of a very large, very alive cockroach.

As it turns out, the cockroach was probably the least of my worries when you consider the many potentially harmful and even deadly chemicals that were stored under the sink in my parents’ kitchen.

If your kids are naturally curious like I was and even if they aren’t, here are a few easy ways to protect children from the dangerous products in your home.

Poison Prevention Tips

  • Store all household products out of children’s sight and reach. Young kids are often eye-level with items under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Any bleach, detergents, dishwasher liquid or cleaning solutions that are kept there should find a new storage location.
  • Store poisonous items out of reach or use safety locks on cabinets within reach. These items also include detergent pods for the laundry and dishwasher. It only takes a few minutes, and it gives you one less thing to worry about.
  • Read product labels to find out what can be hazardous to kids. Dangerous household items include makeup, personal care products, plants, pesticides, art supplies and alcohol.
  • Make sure that all medicines and vitamins are stored out of reach and out of sight of children.
  • Put the toll-free Poison Help Number (1-800-222-1222) into your home and cell phones. You should also post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.
  • Check for lead-based paint. Remove any peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.

Of course, a live cockroach is not a bad solution either, but that could lead to long-term consequences. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to look at pineapple juice quite the same way again.