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Gasoline safety hits home for columnist

Columnist Adam Wilmoth learns a valuable, personal lesson about gasoline safety.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: April 6, 2012

Work became personal this week.

I write about oil and gasoline and related issues almost daily, but gasoline safety in a moment moved from the theoretical to extremely personal last weekend when my 7-year-old daughter decided it was a good idea to see what gasoline tastes like.

I keep our gas can, fertilizer, weed killer and other dangerous chemicals locked in the shed in our backyard.

But when I was mowing the yard that weekend, I left the doors open.

At 7 and 4, my children have outgrown toddlerhood, and my wife and I have grown a bit more lax on childproofing the house.

The thought didn't even cross my mind that they would get into the shed while I was working on the yard — until my daughters walked by, reeking of the smell of gasoline.

I was upset enough when I thought they were messing with the gas can and spilled some on themselves.

I panicked when my youngest said my oldest had poured the gasoline into a tablespoon and swallowed it in one gulp.

I had the girls halfway to the van and was headed to the emergency room when my wife called poison control.

Swallowing small amounts of fuel, apparently, leads only to an upset stomach and some particularly nasty-smelling burps.

But if the gasoline had made its way to her lungs, things would have been much more serious.

Since she wasn't coughing and complained only of a mild tummy ache, poison control advised putting off the trip to the ER. Instead, we made her drink as much water as she could stand all afternoon, watched her every second and questioned her every move.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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Calling Poison Control

The Oklahoma Poison Control Center can be reached 24 hours a day at (800) 222-1222.


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