March 20-26 is National Poison Prevention Week
03-21-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
It is natural for children to explore their surroundings but exploring under the kitchen sink or the medicine cabinet where hazardous chemicals and adult medicines are kept can be dangerous.
During National Poison Prevention Week(March 20-26), The Children’s Medical Center of Daytonand Safe Kids Greater Daytonremind parents to make sure they store hazardous materials – such as cleaning products or medication – out of their children’s reach.
Each year, unintentional poisoning is the cause of death for approximately 100 children ages 14 years and under and poison control centers in the United States receive 1.2 million calls as a result of accidental poisoning of children ages 5 and younger. Nearly 90 percent of these toxic exposures occur in the home, and 56 percent involve non-pharmaceutical products such as cosmetics, cleansers, personal care products, plants, pesticides, art supplies, alcohol and toys.
“It doesn’t take much to make a small child sick,” states Jessica Saunders, Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator and injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children’s. “Almost half of poison exposures for children younger than age 5 are caused by medicine. Children have faster metabolisms than adults and anything they ingest will be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly.”
National Poison Prevention Week is a week nationally designated by Congress since 1961 to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. Child-resistant packaging is credited with saving hundreds of children’s lives since its introduction in the 1970s. Still, there is no substitute for active supervision and childproofing.
“If a product label says ‘keep out of reach of children,’ there’s a reason,” says Saunders. “Keep it up high and in a locked cabinet.”
Dayton Children’s offers nine tips to keep your children safe from accidental poisonings:
- Lock up potential poisons out of sight and reach of kids. This includes makeup, medicine, plants, cleaning products, pesticides, art supplies, and beer, wine and liquor.
- Never leave kids alone with an open container of something you wouldn’t want them to ingest. A child can be poisoned in a matter of seconds.
- Don’t refer to medicine or vitamins as candy and don’t involve children as helpers with your medication.
- Choose medicines and products that have child-resistant caps. When you are giving medicine to your children, follow dosage directions carefully.
- Keep products in their original containers. Read labels to learn if a product is poisonous and for first aid information.
- If your home was built before 1978, test for lead-based paint and get your child tested for lead exposure. Children inhale the dust of lead-based paint and can build up enough lead in their blood to affect intelligence, growth and development.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that builds up around fuel-burning appliances and cars in garages. It can make a child seriously ill in concentrations that would barely affect an adult.
- Know which plants in and around your home can be poisonous.
- Discuss these precautions with grandparents and caregivers. They may have medications that can be very dangerous to children and their homes might not be as well childproofed as yours.
“And finally, learn the toll-free poison control center number: 1-800-222-1222,” Saunders says. “Keep it near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone. This number will connect you to your local poison control center from anywhere in the United States.”
For more information, go to www.childrensdayton.org/safekidsor www.usa.safekids.org/poison.
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