National Poison Prevention Week

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This week is National Poison Prevention Week (3rd wk in March). Each year, approximately 2.4 million people – more than half under age 6 – swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance. Children account for half of the poison emergency calls to poison centers. Those who care for children must always be watchful when household chemicals or medicines are being used. Poisonings often occur when adults are using a product but are distracted, perhaps by the telephone or by another child, even just for a few moments. Children act fast. Adults must protect them. Make sure that household products, chemicals and medicines are stored out of a child’s sight and reach at all times. Use child-resistant packaging and secure the cap after each use.

The most dangerous potential poisons are medicines, cleaning products, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil. Be especially vigilant when there is a change in routine. Holidays, visits to and from grandparents’ homes, and other special events may bring greater risk of poisoning if the usual safeguards are defeated or not in place.

To poison proof your home:

- Store medicine, cleaners, paints/varnishes and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children.

- Install a safety latch – that locks when you close the door – on child-accessible cabinets containing harmful products.

- Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Discard unused medication.

- Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.

- Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage.

- Never place poisonous products in food or drink containers.

- Keep coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order.- Maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

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