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1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1223
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)

Jan Stegelman

Executive Committee:
Randall Bolin

Dennis Cooley, MD
Medical Advisor
American Academy of
Pediatrics, Kansas

John Drees
Douglas County
SAFE KIDS Coalition

John Halbran
Kansas Safety Belt
Education Office

Jim Keating
Kansas State
Firefighters Association

Elena Nuss
Kansas State
Fire Marshal's Office

Cindy Samuelson
Kansas Hospital Association

For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week

"Children Act Fast...So Do Poisons!"

Each year, children are poisoned by any number of household and personal care products, as well as medicines, vitamins, plants, pesticides, art supplies, alcohol, lead and carbon monoxide. The Mid America Poison Control Center and Safe Kids Kansas are partnering in observance of National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24, to remind everyone that “Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons. ”

The Mid-America Poison Control center in Kansas City received over 22,000 reports of poison exposures in 2005. Of these, 58 percent involved children ages 5 and under. In 2005, the most frequent causes of poisonings reported to the Mid America Poison Control Center in children ages 5 and under were cosmetic/personal care products, household cleaning substances, topical medications, and analgesics.

“It doesn’t take much to make a small child sick,” said Jan Stegelman, coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas. “Kids have faster metabolisms than adults, and anything they ingest will be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly.”

Child-resistant packaging is credited with saving hundreds of children’s lives since its introduction in the 1970s, and childhood lead poisoning declined by 80 percent in the 15 years after unleaded gasoline and paint became industry standards. 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,” said Stegelman. “Keep it up high and in a locked cabinet. ”

Keep the Poison Control Center hotline number handy – keep it beside every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone. Follow the center’s instructions. Do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed by the Poison Control Center

Poison Control Center
National Toll-Free Number – 1-800-222-1222
This number will connect you directly to your local poison control center.

Safe Kids Kansas and the Mid America Poison Control Center offer these prevention tips:

  • Call 911, not poison control, if a child is choking, having trouble breathing or having a seizure. Do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed.
  • Store medications locked out of children’s sight and reach. Don’t leave medicine in your purse or an unlocked kitchen or bathroom cabinet and don’t put it on a kitchen or bedside table. Never leave medicines or potentially poisonous household products unattended while you are using them and never leave out loose pills. Store medications and any potentially harmful products in their original containers with their original labeling.
  • Don’t refer to medicine or vitamins as candy Children should not think of therapeutic substances as treats.  And when you are administering medicine to your children, follow dosage directions carefully.
  • If your home was built before 1978, test your children for lead exposure and inspect your home for lead paint. An estimated 6,400 Kansas children under the age of six have elevated blood lead levels from ingesting dust from deteriorating lead-based paint and other sources of lead.  Frequently wash children’s hands and faces, as well as toys and pacifiers to reduce the risk of ingesting lead-contaminated dust. For more information contact the KS Lead Poisoning Prevention Program toll free at 1-866-865-3233 or
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in every sleeping area. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that builds up around fuel-burning appliances — and cars in garages — and is present in tobacco smoke. It can make a child seriously ill in concentrations that would barely affect an adult.
  • Stay alert while using cleaning products or other potentially harmful substances. A child can be poisoned in a matter of seconds. Never leave kids alone with an open container of something you wouldn’t want them to ingest.
  • Learn which plants are poisonous. Keep poisonous houseplants out of reach, and teach children not to put any part of an outdoor plant in their mouths without adult supervision.
  • Discuss these precautions with grandparents and relatives. Grandparents may have medications that can be very dangerous to children, and their homes might not be as well childproofed as yours.
  • Learn CPR. In less than three hours, you can learn effective interventions that can give a fighting chance to a child whose breathing and heartbeat have stopped.

For more information, please visit or

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area.  Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.