Parents, grandparents and caregivers … this blog’s for you!
It’s a startling statistic – about half of all poison exposures reported to America’s poison centers involve children younger than 6.
Most of the time, these exposures happen when adults are busy preparing meals or when the normal routine changes during holidays or while moving, visiting or traveling.
The 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week is the perfect time to stress the importance of poison-proofing your home to keep children safe.
In 2010, America’s 57 poison centers answered nearly 4 million calls, including nearly 2.4 million calls about human exposures to poisons. In children, about 40 percent of poisonings involve medicines; the other 60 percent involve products like plants, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, pesticides, paints and solvents.
So what can you do? Here are some important tips from the experts at the nation’s poison centers:
- Inspect your home and garage to make sure medicines, cleaning products, pesticides and fertilizers are stored up high, away and out of the sight of children.
- Always tell children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never call medicine “candy” to get them to take it.
- Don’t leave medicines or vitamins on counters, window sills, bedside tables or the refrigerator top.
- Take your medicine where children can’t see you; they may try to imitate you.
- Keep cleaning products and household chemicals in their original containers.
- Keep batteries and magnets out of a child’s reach. Call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center right away if a child swallows a battery or magnet.
- Remember that child-resistant is not child-proof. Layer the protection: re-seal and lock up, out of sight and reach.
One final thing – Program your phone with the Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222), post it near your home phone, and add it to your emergency contact list for babysitters and caregivers. This additional safety measure will help ensure that you are one step ahead of your child.
Remember, children act fast … and so do poisons!
The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 57 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures. Poison centers offer free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline is staffed by specially trained medical experts – including doctors, nurses and pharmacists – who take calls in more than 150 languages and from the hearing impaired.
For questions about poison or if you think someone has been exposed to a poison, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center.