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Preventing Common Childhood Injuries

Age: 15 to 17 Months

Risk: Poisoning

Poisoning by such substances as household products, gasoline, and lead-based paint peaks at this age but is still exceeded by poisoning by medication, as active toddlers get into everything, opening drawers and bottles. Babies this age have the highest overall rate of accidental injury  -- almost twice as high as that of babies 3 to 5 months old, who have the lowest rate. A toddler's ability to walk unassisted, insatiable curiosity, and continuing habit of exploring things with the mouth exposes him to more hazards.

Burns from hot liquids and vapor remain a leading cause of injury, since a toddler will grab anything to pull himself up or steady himself. Car-related injuries continue to increase, as toddlers play in driveways and unfenced front yards, where they are able to venture into the street. Falls from furniture also peak, as little ones strive to use chairs and open drawers for climbing.

How to prevent poisoning:

• Put all toxic substances, including medications and household products, out of sight, out of reach, and locked in a childproof cabinet before your child can crawl.

• Keep the national Poison Control Center hotline (800-222-1222) near the telephone. You can also contact them for advice on which poison treatments to keep at home. (Don't administer these products unless instructed to do so by a physician or poison control center personnel.)

• Make sure your medications have child-safety caps.

• Do not store medicine or toxic products in food or drink containers.

• Discard outdated medications.