June 21, 2024

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As the seasons change and the weather warms, Iowans aren't the only ones emerging from their homes. Insects like ants and wasps become more active, leading many to reach for ant killers and wasp sprays. While these products can be effective at controlling pests, they can also pose a significant risk to the health and safety of our children.

The Iowa Poison Control Center (IPCC) has seen an increase in calls related to potential poisonings from ant killer chemicals and wasp sprays. Over the past 3 months, approximately 150 cases were reported to the IPCC involved an insect killer or insect repellant. Of these cases, nearly 2/3 involved two of the more common types of products: borates (a type of ant killer) and pyrethrins/pyrethroids (a common ingredient in bug sprays) and over 1/2 of those cases involved kids under the age of 5 years. These incidents are a stark reminder of the importance of keeping these and all potentially hazardous substances out of the reach of children.

The Risks of Ant Killers and Wasp Sprays

Ant killers and wasp sprays often contain potent chemicals that can be harmful if ingested. Even small amounts can cause serious health problems in children, including nausea, vomiting, seizures, and in severe cases, life-threatening complications.

Young children are naturally curious, and may ingest these substances out of curiosity or by mistake. Ant baits, in particular, can be attractive to kids due to their color and sweet, sugary coating. Wasp sprays, while typically used outdoors, can also pose a risk if a child accidentally sprays the product or gets in the way of the spray.

Keeping Your Family Safe

While it's impossible to eliminate all risks, there are steps you can take to minimize the danger posed by ant killers and wasp sprays:

  • Store products safely: Always keep ant killers and wasp sprays in their original containers, and store them in a secure location that is out of the reach of children.
  • Use products carefully: Follow the instructions on the label carefully when using these products. Avoid spraying when children are nearby, and never leave the products unattended.
  • Supervise: Keep a close eye on children when using these products, and make sure they understand the dangers of touching or ingesting them.
  • Have a plan: Know what to do in case of an emergency. If you suspect your child has ingested an ant killer or wasp spray, call the Iowa Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

The Iowa Poison Control Center: Your Lifeline in a Poisoning Emergency

The Iowa Poison Control Center is a vital resource for Iowans. The center's team of nurses and pharmacists specialized in poison information are available 24/7 to provide expert advice and guidance in case of a suspected poisoning.

If you suspect your child has ingested an ant killer or wasp spray, don't wait. Call the Iowa Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Do not try to make your child vomit or give them any food or drink unless instructed to do so by the poison control center.

Remember, when it comes to the health and safety of our children, it's always better to err on the side of caution. By taking steps to safely store and use ant killers and wasp sprays, and knowing what to do in case of an emergency, we can help keep our kids safe as the weather warms and the pests come out.

For More Information:

Download Poison Help's Contact Information 

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