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February 1, 2000

Grandparents!  Prevent Your Grandchildren from Being Poisoned

36% of the childhood ingestions involved a grandparent's medication.

Washington, DC (SafetyAlerts) - A startling fact has been learned in a study undertaken by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in association with the Poison Information Center at the Children's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. This study showed that 36% of the childhood ingestions involved a grandparent's medication.

According to the study, grandparents often have non-child-resistant prescription vials or loose pills out on tables, kitchen counters, or in purses or pockets. Children swallow these medications when they are visiting grandparents or when the grandparents visit them.

To prevent this continuing tragedy parents and grandparents must keep medicines out of the reach-and out of sight-of grandchildren.

Grandparents should also use child-resistant vials if they are able to.  Although may obtain traditional, easy-to-open containers, by asking their pharmacist for them, the child-resistant vials should be used whenever children are around.

Children are curious; adults must help keep children safe.  Below are a few questions you can ask yourself that will help you keep your children or grandchildren safe.


Do all harmful products in the cabinets have child-resistant caps? Products like furniture polishes, drain cleaners and some oven cleaners should have safety packaging to keep little children from accidentally opening the packages.

Are all potentially harmful products in their original containers? There are two dangers if products aren't stored in their original containers. Labels on the original containers often give first aid information if someone should swallow the product. And if products are stored in containers like drinking glasses or pop bottles, someone may think it is food and swallow it.

Are harmful products stored away from food? If harmful products are placed next to food, someone may accidentally get a food and a poison mixed up and swallow the poison.

Have all potentially harmful products been put up high and out of reach of children? The best way to prevent poisoning is making sure that it's impossible to find and get at the poisons. Locking all cabinets that hold dangerous products is the best poison prevention.


Did you ever stop to think that medicines could poison if used improperly? Many children are poisoned each year by overdoses of aspirin. If aspirin can poison, just think of how many other poisons might be in your medicine cabinet.

Do your aspirins and other potentially harmful products have child-resistant closures? Aspirins and most prescription drugs come with child-resistant caps. Check to see yours have them, and that they are properly secured. Check your prescriptions before leaving the pharmacy to make sure the medicines are in child-resistant packaging. These caps have been shown to save the lives of children.

Have you thrown out all out-of-date prescriptions? As medicines get older, the chemicals inside them can change. So what was once a good medicine may now be a dangerous poison. Flush all old drugs down the toilet. Rinse the container well, then discard it.

Are all medicines in their original containers with the original labels? Prescription medicines may or may nob list ingredients. The prescription number on the label will, however, allow rapid identification by the pharmacist of the ingredients should they not be listed. Without the original label and container, you can't be sure of what you're taking. After all, aspirin looks a lot like poisonous roach tablets.

If your vitamins or vitamin/mineral supplements contain iron, are they in child-resistant packaging? Most people think of vitamins and minerals as foods and, therefore, nontoxic, but a few iron pills can kill a child.


Did you know that many things in your garage or storage area that can be swallowed are terrible poisons? Death may occur when people swallow such everyday substances as charcoal lighter, paint thinner and remover, antifreeze and turpentine.

Do all these poisons have child-resistant caps?

Are they stored in the containers?

Are the original labels on the containers?

Have you made sure that no poisons are stored in drinking glasses or pop bottles?

Are all these harmful products locked up and out of sight and reach?

When all your answers are "Yes," then continue this level of poison protection by making sure that, whenever you buy potentially harmful products, they have child-resistant closures and are kept out of sight and reach. Post the number of the Poison Control Center near your telephone.

Selected Recent Recalls

Health Professional:

Did you know?
During 2000 there were over
1050 products recalled in the United
States for safety reasons!

How many did you hear about?

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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.