Antifreeze can kill your child

Antifreeze is the stuff you put in your car's radiator to keep the radiator from freezing. Most brands of antifreeze contain ethylene glycol.

Ethylene glycol is a sweet tasting liquid and it is deadly -- just two tablespoons of antifreeze is enough to kill a child. Hundreds of children get into antifreeze every year and are poisoned by it. Kids find antifreeze:

  • in the garage, when they come across an unmarked bottle of old antifreeze or a pan of antifreeze left on the floor.
  • in a puddle of it left in a parking space or on the driveway.

One of the organs most affected by ethylene glycol is the kidneys, and even a small amount of antifreeze can cause kidney damage.

Steps you can take

  • If you think your child has swallowed any amount of antifreeze, call the poison control center or emergency room immediately. If treatment starts before kidney damage begins, treatment is often successful.

  • NEVER store unused antifreeze or old antifreeze in something like a 2-liter soda bottle or a milk jug. Children may mistake the antifreeze for a beverage.

  • Keep antifreeze in locked cabinets out of reach of children.

  • If your radiator has a leak and is leaving a puddle of antifreeze on the driveway or the garage floor, clean the antifreeze up and get the car fixed. Children love puddles.

  • If you are working on your car, never leave a pan of antifreeze out in the garage or the driveway. Children love to play in water.

  • If your child is acting "drunk", one thing you should consider is the possibility of antifreeze poisoning. Ethylene glycol acts like alcohol does on the brain.

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