Parents quickly come to understand it is impossible to keep inquisitive, adventurous small children out of trouble. At the same time, they realize no chances can be taken with some hazards.
Two stories in the news this week are reminders to West Virginians of the terrible cost of not understanding that.
In Ohio County, a man and woman are accused of child neglect that resulted in the death of their 3-year-old daughter.
Little Patience Cole died in March 2012 after ingesting some of her father's anti-depressant pills at the family's home on Wheeling Island. Her parents, Edward and Cindy Cole, were charged. A mistrial was declared in Mr. Cole's case earlier this month; a new trial is expected. Mrs. Cole's trial has not yet been scheduled.
Earlier this month in Marion County, a 2-year-old girl died after ingesting painkiller pills. Her parents have been charged with child neglect resulting in death.
It is difficult to keep children away from some household hazards. Electric outlets and stairs come to mind.
But it is not difficult at all to keep children away from medicines. When they are young, drugs can be stored out of their reach. When they grow older and able to overcome obstacles such as height, locked cabinets can be used.
Leaving virtually any drug within reach of a young child can result in a tragedy. Even common over-the-counter remedies can be deadly to children, especially if ingested in large quantities.
That said, if precautions fail and a child does swallow drugs of any kind, seek professional help immediately. The Marion County couple did not. According to a report, they gave her a bath, made her vomit, then put her in bed. She died of cardiac arrest.
No matter what the drug - or other hazardous substance - get help without delay. You can call local emergency dispatchers, at 911 in most local counties, or the state Poison Center, at 800-222-1222.