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Communication is Prevention

Tips for Talking to Children (6 to 11 year-olds)

Discuss the purpose of common household products. Emphasize that when they are not used appropriately, certain fumes or gases may harm the body and make them sick.

  • Discuss what fumes are and what effects they may have on a healthy body.
  • Play a game - “Is it safe to smell or touch?”
  • Read product labels together, discuss directions, and answer any questions honestly.
  • Suggest opening windows or using fans when products call for proper ventilation.
  • Teach by example - show your child that you use household products according to the directions.
  • Monitor your child’s activities and friends.
  • Look for “teachable moments.”

Talk Tough with Teens

According to national surveys, more than two million kids aged 12 to 17 have used some form of an inhalant to get high.

  • Ask your teen what they know about Inhalants.
  • Do they have friends who abuse Inhalants?
  • Ask if they know the physical damage that can occur from “sniffing”
    • Damage to brain, liver, lungs, kidneys
    • Loss of memory and smell
    • Death - even the first time
  • Tell your child that the consequences of abusing products are as dangerous as those from abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs.
  • Let them know that sniffing products to get high is not the way to fit in. Help them address peer pressure. It may seem harmless, but the high can come with a deadly cost.
  • Be absolutely clear that unsafe actions and risky behavior have serious consequences.
  • Encourage your child to come to you or a teacher, clergy, counselor, coach, or adult friend if they have any questions or concerns.
  • Monitor their activities, know their friends, be a good listener, and set limits.
  • Seize communication opportunities.

In Case of Emergency

If you find your child unconscious or you suspect your child is under the influence of an inhalant:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Keep the child calm to reduce cardiac stress.
  • Try to determine the source of the inhalant so the medical professionals can help more quickly.

If you suspect your child might be abusing inhalants, call your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or the 1-800 number on the product label.

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