Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
TOPEKA, Kan. - 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 the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (March 18-24) 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.
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.
On average, each year unintentional poisoning is the cause of death for approximately 101 children ages 14 years and under in the U.S. Poison control centers received 3.9 million calls in 2010 as a result of accidental poisoning, with children younger than age 6 accounting for about half of those poison exposure calls. Nearly 90 percent of these toxic exposures to children occur in the home.
While medications are the predominant cause of poisonings among young children, it’s important to note that children are also poisoned by 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.”
Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents to learn the toll-free poison control center number: 1-800-222-1222. Keep it 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you to your local poison control center from anywhere in the U.S. Unlike the Internet where you may find incorrect or outdated information, the poison control center staff knows what questions to ask to provide correct information, and sometimes life-saving instruction.
“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:
Lock up potential poisons out of sight and reach of kids. This includes makeup, medicine, plants, cleaning products, pesticides, art supplies, baking extracts, beverages containing alcohol, tobacco products and e-cigarettes (which contain liquid nicotine).
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.
Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook.