With New Mexico schools back in session, students can find themselves in new routines and environments, and exposed to new influences and opportunities. The New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center has some tips to help keep your student poison-free.
- Children and adolescents should avoid alcohol. Small amounts of alcohol can be highly toxic in children and adolescents, and is even more dangerous when mixed with caffeine or certain medications. Of course, alcohol and driving never mix.
- There are a lot of synthetic drugs being made by hobby chemists. Candies, such as gummy worms, have been coated with these drugs and circulated in the public. Parents should talk to their children about such dangers.
- There is such a thing as caffeine toxicity. Children and adolescents should have no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day. A typical can of soda contains around 40 mg of caffeine. Energy drinks should be strictly limited.
- Students should be reminded to follow directions carefully during science projects. Some chemicals are highly toxic and may react violently with water and other substances. Wear gloves and protective glasses when appropriate.
- Time spent in the sun should be limited, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear plenty of sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15, protects against both UVA and UVB rays (“broad-spectrum”) and is PABA-free. Children and adolescents should stay well hydrated during sport activities.
- Children should never eat or drink something if they are not sure that it is okay to do so. Medicines often look and taste like candy. Cleaning products often look and smell like food or drink, too.
- To avoid food poisoning, ensure cold foods stay cool and warm foods stay warm. For example, when taking a cold-cut sandwich with mayonnaise for lunch, make sure to also pack ice or a cold pack.
- Students should wash their hands thoroughly before eating.
- Students should wash their hands well after art projects. While most school supplies are non-toxic, ingestion of these substances is not recommended.
- A trusted adult, such as a parent or school nurse, should always help young children take their medication(s).
- Ensure childhood vaccinations are up-to-date.
- If you think that your child or student has been poisoned, call 1-800-222-1222 right away. Do not wait for the person to look or feel sick or ask for help!
For more information about the NM Poison & Drug Information Center, visit nmpoisoncenter.unm.edu or call 1-800-222-1222.