In order to become licensed foster care parents in our state, my husband and I were forced to completely reevaluate the safety of our home, and learn all kinds of fun facts like the effects of rat poisoning in the body. So, we put safety covers on all the electrical outlets, installed child safety gates on the stairs, and quickly locked up all the poisons in the home.
Learning about the effects of rat poisoning on the body left us particularly cold, thinking about all the awful things a child would go through if they get into anything poisonous, especially rat poison. I thought the idea of having a rat in the house was bad enough, with all the diseases it carries, the parasites that can infest your home, its destructive capabilities, and the contamination from its droppings. But, the products used to poison rats can do terrible things to humans and pets.
Rat poison is basically a blood thinner, because it reduces the levels of vitamin K in the blood. Vitamin K affects the blood’s ability to clot, so when you seriously reduce it, the body bleeds abnormally. This means whoever ingests it can bleed from their nose and mouth, they can have bad diarrhea or vomiting streaked with blood, they get extremely dizzy and lethargic because their blood is too thin, and death is most likely from hemorrhaging or heart complications. It’s awful to think about any animal experiencing the effects of rat poisoning, but when it comes to a loved one, an innocent child or a pet, it’s horrific.
Incidentally, it can take days before a rat feels the effects of rat poisoning. Rats are extremely intelligent, and quickly learn to avoid dangerous or harmful food or situations. Since it can be days before they feel the poison’s effect, they continue to eat the poisoned food source, thereby ensuring they consume enough to finally kill them.
Unfortunately, it can also mean a child or pet may not experience the effects of rat poisoning in their body for days. And, if the child is too young to communicate what they ate or how they’re feeling, it can mean the parent doesn’t know to get them help until it’s too late. Or, a parent may discover a child has consumed some rat poison, but won’t do anything about it right away, because they don’t see any immediate symptoms.
The instant you suspect a child has ingested any amount of rat poison, get immediate emergency help. You can also contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 anytime night or day.
My husband and I really looked forward to becoming licensed foster care workers, and we locked up things like paint and oil for the car. But, we completely got rid of the rat poison. It was too risky. Instead, if we ever have a rat problem, we will get a professional exterminator out to our house. I just couldn’t bear the thought of any child in our care accidentally consuming it. Better to just let a professional handle a rat problem if and when we ever needed it.