Tips for Talking

(6-11 year olds)

• Discuss what poisons are, and what effects they have on a healthy body.

• Talk about oxygen and how it is needed to sustain life.

• Play a game, “is it safe to smell or touch?”  Find pictures of various household products and other items in a book or magazine and ask your child, “is it safe to smell or touch, and why?”

• Open windows or use fans when products call for proper ventilation.

• Discuss the purpose of common household and commercial products. Explain that when misused, certain fumes or gases may harm the body, act as a poison; and can make the child sick. To the extent possible, keep poisons out of children’s reach.

• If your child helps with cleaning, read product labels together. Talk about the directions and answer any questions your child may have. Always supervise your child’s use of household products. Teach by example. Show your child how to use household products according to the directions.

• Educate your child about the dangers, but don’t mention specific substances unless your child brings them up. While many youngsters know kids are sniffing some substances, they may not know the full range of products that can be abused; and you don’t want to give them suggestions.

(12-18 year olds)

• Ask your pre-teen or teenager if he or she knows about Inhalant Abuse or is aware of other kids abusing products.

• Reinforce peer resistance skills. Tell him or her that sniffing products to get high is not the way to fit in. Inhalants are harmful: the “high” comes with high cost.

• Encourage your child to come to you if he or she has any questions about Inhalants.

• Tell your child that the consequences of Inhalant Abuse are as dangerous as those from abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs. Be absolutely clear — emphasize that unsafe actions and risky behavior have serious consequences.

• Monitor your teen’s activities — set boundaries, ask questions. Be firm, know his or her friends and his or her friends’ parents, know where they meet to “hang out.”

•  Educate your child about the dangers, but don’t mention specific substances unless your child brings them up. While many youngsters know kids are sniffing some substances, they may not know the full range of products that can be abused; and you don’t want to give them suggestions.

• Tell your children that you love them and that their safety is your number one priority. Tell them again…and again…and again.