Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
It is natural for children to explore their surroundings, unless they’re getting under the kitchen sink or into the medicine cabinet where hazardous chemicals and adult medicines are kept. As National Poison Prevention Week (March 14-20) approaches, Safe Kids Kansas reminds 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 under. 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,” said Cherie Sage, State Director of Safe Kids Kansas. “Almost half of poison exposures for children under the age of 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,” said Sage. “Keep it up high and in a locked cabinet.”
Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents to learn the toll-free poison control center number: 1-800-222-1222 and to keep the number near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone. This number connects you to your local poison control center from anywhere in the United States.
“If a child is choking, having trouble breathing or having a seizure, call 911 instead,” said Sage. “Follow the 911 operator’s instructions. Do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed.”
Safe Kids Kansas offers these additional tips:
For more information about poison prevention, call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222, and press “3” for the public educator, or call Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-0351, or visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.) Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org.