National Poison Prevention Month will be observed from March 1 through March 31, 2015. Each year, U.S. Poison Centers receive more than four million poisoning exposures calls. Of those calls, almost half involve children five years of age and under, but the most serious cases involve an adult. Nine out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs/medications. There are steps you can take to prevent accidental poisonings:
- Talk with your children about the things in your home that are dangerous and things that are not.
- Often asking questions about what they think are dangerous things in your home can offer a lot of eye-opening moments for parents and can create great conversations and teaching moments.
- Sometimes poisons can be colorful or have interesting designs on the packaging.
- Recent incidents of children ingesting laundry detergent pod packs have made it to both local and national news outlets.
- Many Prescription meds look similar to candies and gum and children often don’t know the difference.
- Read and follow the directions and warnings on the label before taking or administering any medicine.
- Get rid of old and outdated medicines as soon as you don’t need them any more.
- Keep potential poisons in their original containers.
- Store medicines, cleaning fluids and other questionable materials in a cabinet with child proof locks or in a cabinet out of reach of young children.
- If you do store items in alternative containers mark them clearly with the contents.
- Don’t sniff chemical containers.
- Never mix household chemical products together
- Many mild and natural cleaning solvents and chemicals can make extremely dangerous, noxious or even lethal materials when combined.
- Turn on fans and open windows when using household chemical products.
If you have an emergency and believe someone has been poisoned, don’t panic. Many poisonings can be taken care of at home with the help of the poison center experts. Keep the Poison Help #1-800-222-1222 on or near home phones and programmed into cell phones. I encourage you to learn more about how you can poison-proof your home.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers has more information on how to safeguard against poisonings in your home and workplace: American Association of Poison Control Centers
Information for this page came in part from the website for the Missouri Department of Public Safety: MO Dept. of Public Safety Monthly Safety Update