It is National Poison Prevention Week this week which is a good time to inspect our house and take steps to to poison-proof our homes. Accidental poisoning deaths have been rising since 1992. Here’s a top tip: Program this number. Fast, free and expert help or information 24/7 for emergencies or questions about poison at 1-800-222-1222. This is the same number in all states. The statistics are startling: An estimated 60,000 children (18 years old and younger) are seen in emergency departments each year because of poisonings from medications (excluding recreational drug use). More than 80 percent of visits are because an unsupervised child found and consumed medications. In children, emergency room visits for medication poisoning, not to include misuse or abuse, are twice the number of poisoning from other household products like cleaning solutions, etc. In 2009, 41,592 poisoning deaths in US were accidental. Nationally, poison control centers receive a total about 2.5 million calls a year. The California Poison Control System has released a variety of preventative and life saving services:
- Keep cosmetics, personal care products, prescription and over-the-counter
medicines, cleaning products, dietary supplements and vitamins, pesticides and lighter fluid, locked up or out of reach. Be sure household plants are also out of reach.
- Always keep cleaning products, gasoline, lighter fluid, antifreeze, paint and paint
thinners in the containers they came in.
- Never put something that is not food in a food or beverage container, such as a
soda bottle, cup or glass.
- Do not store food and household cleaners in the same cabinet; they often look alike.
- If you are a grandparent visiting or caring for little ones, put purses or bags that
might contain your medication where a child can’t reach.
- Put smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, make sure they
work and change the batteries every 6 months.
- Never call medicine candy.
- Do not take medicine in front of children; they love to do what adults do.
- Objects that use small batteries, like toys or remotes, should be kept out of reach of young children.
- Disc batteries are both poisonous and a choking hazard. Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President, Education at the American Cleaning Institute, and Chair of the National Poison Prevention Week Council offers more valuable tips:
- Use National Poison Prevention Week as the time to inspect your entire home for any medicines or household products, such as detergents, cleaning products, pesticides, and fertilizers that may not be stored properly and correct the situation immediately.
- Ensure children can’t use chairs or stack items to climb to products stored out of their reach.
- Re-close medicines and other household products if interrupted during use. Many incidents happen when adults are distracted when using these products (e.g., by the telephone or the doorbell).
- Read product labels before each use and follow directions exactly.
- Keep cleaning products in their original container with their original label intact.
- Laundry product labels contain first aid information and are a valuable resource for consumers.
- Always close all household cleaning product containers immediately after use and store them out of children’s reach.
- NEVER use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.
- Teach children that laundry and other cleaning products and their containers are not toys.
- Children are usually curious and explore all new things that they find in the home. Take care to keep products out of reach of young children.
- Never use empty detergent containers for storage of any other materials.