March 13, 2002
New National Emergency Hotline
Assessed; CPSC Joins in Launching Poison Prevention Week to Stop 30 Deaths
During a news conference to launch National Poison Prevention Week, the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the American Association of
Poison Control Centers, and the Poison Prevention Week Council reported on
the performance of the new national toll-free telephone number for poison
control centers. The new number, (800) 222-1222, was launched on January 30,
2002. For the first time, this new number provides everyone in the U.S. with
free access - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - to their regional poison
center. In just the first full month of operation, the toll-free number
received 44,000 calls about potential poisonings.
"This number is proving to be a life-saver," said CPSC Acting Chairman
Thomas Moore. "The CPSC wholeheartedly supports this innovation and hopes
that families and caregivers across the nation keep this number near their
phones for quick action when needed."
The goal of National Poison Prevention Week, this year held March 17-23, is
to help reduce the annual toll of about 30 deaths to children under 5 years
old. The nation's poison control centers receive more than one million calls
each year about unintentional poisonings of children under 5 years of age
from medicines and household chemicals.
Experts emphasize three ways to reduce deaths and injuries from poisonings:
(1) Keep medicines and household chemicals locked up, out of reach, and out
of sight of young children at all times; (2) Use child-resistant packaging
because it saves lives; and (3) Call (800) 222-1222 to get immediate
treatment advice for poison emergencies.
The CPSC requires child-resistant packaging for 30 categories of medicines
and household chemicals.
"Child resistant-packaging saves lives," said Moore. "For aspirin and oral
prescription medicine, special packaging has saved the lives of more than
900 children since the early 1970s."
National Poison Prevention Week is organized each year by the Poison
Prevention Week Council, a coalition of national organizations, including
the CPSC, working to prevent poisonings. According to Peter Mayberry,
Chairman of the Poison Prevention Week Council, "National Poison Prevention
Week is a time to emphasize the responsibility that parents, grandparents,
and other caregivers have in preventing these tragedies. Adults everywhere
need to remember that it can only take an instant for a poisoning to occur
when children are able to reach household chemicals and medicines."
Child-resistant packaging is not child-proof. If a young child swallows a
medicine or chemical, parents must call the poison control center
immediately. Dr. Alan Woolf, President of the American Association of Poison
Control Centers, said, "Our new national toll-free number (800-222-1222)
makes life-saving poison center assistance accessible to everyone in the
U.S. We are confident we can save lives if people call the poison center
The "Poison Control Center Enhancement and Awareness Act" provides a stable
source of federal funds for poison centers and makes them more accessible to
Here are the basic poison prevention tips that every person should check
during National Poison Prevention Week:
Keep all chemicals and medicines locked up and out of sight.
Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely
after each use or choosing child-resistant blister cards, which do not need
to be re-secured.
Call (800) 222-1222 immediately in case of poisoning. Keep on hand a bottle
of ipecac syrup but use it only if the poison center instructs you to induce
When products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even
if you must take them along when answering the phone or doorbell.
Keep items in original containers.
Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before using.
Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where children
can reach them. Lamp oil can be very toxic if ingested by young children.
Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicine. Check the dosage
Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as "medicine,"
Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of unneeded
and outdated medicines.
To get a free packet of poison prevention publications, write to "Poison
Prevention Packet," CPSC, Washington, DC 20207, or visit
A Video News Release will be broadcast at the following dates and times. The
VNR will include soundbites from today's press conference and b-roll from a
busy poison control center and from children at home.
Satellite Coordinates (C-Band)
Wednesday, March 13
2:30-3 p.m. ET
Telstar 5, Transponder 5
DL 3800 MHz
Audio 6.2 & 6.8
Thursday, March 14
10:30-11:00 a.m. ET
Telstar 5, Transponder 1
DL 3720 MHz
Audio 6.2 & 6.8
This feed is for your free/unrestricted use. Technical questions: Call (800)