March 14, 2000Poison Safety Tips for National
Poison Prevention Week, March 19-25
Frankfort, KY (SafetyAlerts) - Every 20 minutes,
someone in Kentucky calls the states Poison Control Center about the possible
poisoning of a child. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has
estimated that in 1997 alone, more than 2.3 million people reported possible poisonings to
Poison Control Centers.
According to the AAPCC, 91.5% of these events took
place in the home. Many of these situations can be prevented if families follow some
simple tips on keeping medicine, chemicals and cleaning products away from children. Thats
one of the main points public health officials are stressing during National Poison
Prevention Week, March 19-25.
"One of the most important things is that
when you buy medicine either prescription or over the counter get it with
child-resistant caps," said Mike Cavanah, the program administrator for product
safety in the Kentucky Department for Public Health. "Its also a good idea to
get cabinet locks for chemicals and cleaners. Little kids love to play with pots and pans
in the kitchen and theyll try to get the cleaning liquid out, too."
The most common substances involved in the
poisonings are cleaning products, pain relievers, personal care products and cough and
Here are some prevention tips regarding children
from the American Association of Poison Control Centers:
HOUSEHOLD AND CHEMICAL PRODUCTS
- Use safety locks on all cabinets. Store potential
poisons out of reach of small children.
- Store all poisonous household and chemical products
out of sight of children.
- If you are using a product and need to answer the
phone or doorbell, take the child with you. Most poisonings occur when the product is in
- Store all products in their original containers. DO
NOT use food containers such as milk jugs or soda bottles to store household or chemical
- Store food and household and chemical products in
separate areas. Mistaken identity could cause a serious poisoning. Many poisonous products
look-a-like and come in containers very similar to drinks or food. An example of this is
apple juice and pine cleaner.
- Return household and chemical products to safe
storage immediately after use.
- Use extra caution during mealtimes or when the
family routine is disrupted. Many poisonings take place at this time.
- Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin and can
be extremely toxic. Keep children away from areas that have recently been sprayed. Store
these products in a safe place where children cannot reach them.
- Discard old or outdated household and chemical
- Use the poison safety checklist to poison proof
your home. Each room in the house has a potential for poisoning emergency.
- Take time to teach children about poisonous
- Keep the telephone number of your local Poison
Control Center on or near your telephone.
- Keep medicines out of sight, locked up and out of
reach of children.
- Make sure that all medicines are in child-resistant
containers and labeled properly. Remember child resistant does not mean child proof.
- Never leave pills on the counter or in plastic
bags. Always store medicines in their original container with a child-resistant cap.
- Keep purses and diaper bags out of reach of
- Avoid taking medicines in front of children. Young
children imitate grown ups.
- DONT call medicine candy. Medicines and candy
look alike and children cannot tell the difference.
- Vitamins are medicine. Vitamins with iron can be
especially poisonous. Keep them locked up and out of reach of children.
- Be aware of medicines that visitors may bring to
your home. Children are curious and may investigate visitors purses and suitcases.
- Keep a bottle of activated charcoal, a medicine
used to stop the absorption of poison, in your medicine cabinet. Make sure the babysitter
knows where you store your activated charcoal. Do not use the activated charcoal unless
instructed by the Poison Control Center or your doctor.
Consumers should have the emergency number of the
Poison Control Center in their state near at hand for quick reference in the event of an
emergency. Each certified center is staffed by nurses and physicians trained in
toxicology. To find the number to the center that serves your area go to:
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