Poisoning Prevention Tips

March 22, 2012

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Poison Prevention SymbolPoisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. In this recent report, it was noted that in 2008, the number of poisoning deaths exceeded the number of motor vehicle traffic deaths for the first time since at least 1980. A poison is any substance that can harm someone if it is used in the wrong way, by the wrong person or in the wrong amount.

These tips are brought to you by members of the National Poison Prevention Week Council. Poisoning prevention is in your hands. The following tips can help you protect yourself and your loved ones:

General Safety Tips

  1. Use National Poison Prevention Week as the time to inspect your entire home for any medicines or household products, such as detergents, cleaning products, pesticides, and fertilizers that may not be stored properly and correct the situation immediately. Always store medicines and household products up high, away and out of sight from children.
  2. Install safety latches on cabinets used for medicines and household products.
  3. Ensure children can’t use chairs or stack items to climb to products stored out of their reach.
  4. Re-close medicines and other household products if interrupted during use. Many incidents happen when adults are distracted when using these products (e.g., by the telephone or the doorbell).
  5. Buy products in child-resistant packaging whenever possible. But remember, child-resistant is not childproof, and is designed to keep children away from the product for a short time before a parent notices.
  6. Once purchased, use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after each use.
  7. Read medicine and product labels before each use and follow directions exactly.
  8. Teach children to always ask an adult before eating, drinking or touching anything.

Medicine Safety Tips

  1. Read medicine and product labels before each use and follow directions exactly.
  2. Tell children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them.
  3. Never call medicine “candy” to get a child to take it.
  4. Never leave medicine out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside.
  5. Avoid taking medicine in front of children.
  6. Never take more than the prescribed amount of medicine.
  7. Never share or sell your prescription medicines.
  8. Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers, such as medicines for attention deficit disorder, or ADD.

Household Product Safety

  1. Keep cleaning products in their original container with their original label intact.
  2. Always close cleaning product containers immediately after use and put them away in a secure location after use.
  3. Children are usually curious and explore all new things that they find in the home. Take care to keep laundry products out of reach of young children.
  4. Have your child tested for lead. Symptoms of lead poisoning may not be obvious right away, but behavior and learning problems can develop if high levels are left untreated.
  5. Wash children’s hands, toys, pacifiers and bottles often. Store food in a separate area than household cleaning products and chemicals. Mistaking one for the other could cause a serious poisoning.
  6. Turn on fans and open windows when using household cleaners and chemicals.
  7. Stay away from areas that have recently been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.
  8. Keep batteries and magnetic toys out of a child’s reach.

Be sure to program the Poison Help Hotline phone number into your phone just in case. Call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center. This national toll-free number works anywhere in the U.S. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

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