I’ll never forget the feeling of panic when I saw my 3 year-old holding a bottle of household cleaner. I left a cupboard door unlocked in the bathroom as I went to answer my phone. Fortunately, he only looked at it. At that time, edible cannabis was not on my list of potential safety concerns. If I were to have a young child now, that list would be different.
In Canada, the number of young children hospitalized after the ingestion of cannabis has increased since cannabis legislation. Between September and December 2018, sixteen cases of severe reactions were reported to the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program.
Young children, especially infants and toddlers, learn through exploring, using touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. They are curious about everything. It’s as if they are little scientists asking themselves: What is this? What happens if I shake it? What happens if I smell it, taste it? And preschoolers are curious about items found in drawers and cabinets.
In this story, my son got into an unlocked cupboard of household cleaners. The same can happen with edible cannabis. Whether you as a parent use edible cannabis or not, you may be in a home where others use edible cannabis. It’s important to take steps to keep our kids safe.
What is edible cannabis?
Edible cannabis includes any food or drink that contains cannabis. Edible cannabis frequently has a high content of the chemical THC which can cause poisoning.
Important tips for preventing poisoning in children by edible cannabis:
- Keep all edible cannabis in its labelled, child-resistant packaging.
- Lock up all edible cannabis using a safe, lock box, locking bag, or a lock on a cupboard. Make sure your child can’t see or reach this safe storage space.
- Put edible cannabis products away after every use, even if you plan on using it again later.
- Always throw away leftover pieces of edible cannabis, cannabis ashes or unfinished smoked cannabis and be sure your child can’t get into the garbage.
- Ask your guests to put purses, coats or bags that have cannabis products in a safe place while they are in your home.
- If you use a babysitter, ensure they are mature, responsible and recommended by someone you trust. Before they come to babysit, ask them not to bring or use any cannabis products while caring for your child.
- How you store cannabis products may change as children grow. What was safe storage for young children may not be safe for older children or teens.
How does edible cannabis affect children?
Young children are at more risk for poisoning due to their light weight. The effects can vary from mild to severe. Since the food needs to be digested, the symptoms may not appear until 20 minutes to hours afterwards. Watch for:
- Unable to wake
- Trouble breathing
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
If you know or suspect that your child ate or drank cannabis, call 911 for help right away.
Once your child is on the move, every day is a new adventure! It’s an exciting and fun stage of life, but there are risks and dangers too. Share your suggestions for keeping children safe from unintentional poisonings.
Connect with us. We would love to hear from you:
- Leave us a comment below
- Tweet us @haltonparents
- Follow us on Facebook
- Email us at email@example.com
For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply call 311 or 905-825-6000
Glad you found the information interesting Renia. And thank you!
This is great advice!
I had the same feeling when my daughter got into an alcohol cabinet. Thank you for this.
Yes, it only takes a few seconds. Thanks for your comment.
Such great advice. Thank you!
Glad you found it helpful David!
I had not considered this real risk, much appreciated!
Glad you found it helpful!
Very informative! You might say I got a “high” from reading this. Seriously though, this is info that all parents should be made aware of. Thank-you!
I like your sense of humour Wolf! But seriously, thanks for your positive feedback.
I found the tip about asking guests to safely put away any products they brought over useful. I hadn’t considered this before.
For the most part, we didn’t need to ask this question until now. Thanks for your comment!
No doubt a stressful experience for both child and parent. Unfortunately the chance that someone will call 911 is probably very small, people have lost custody over less. Perhaps they may feel more comfortable calling a neutral helpline? Either way, this is probably a very under reported issue that isn’t limited to cannabis.
This kind of experience is indeed somethin we don’t want to happen. Thanks for sharing this valuables tips. We will be having this article as reference for our articles at weedly for cannabis safety.