This week, March 18-24, 2018, is National Poison Prevention Week! It is always observed the third full week of March. Congress declared the first National Poison Prevention Week back in 1961. Its purpose is to raise awareness about poisonings, reduce the number of unintentional poisonings, and promote prevention methods.
Little ones move fast and unfortunately so do poisons! That’s why prevention is so key when it comes to limiting the effects of poisonings. 90% of poisoning occur in the home! Here are some steps you can take to keep your family safe:
- Keep the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, in your cell phone and somewhere handy at home. Make sure to point it out to babysitters. Trained medical professionals answer that phone number 24/7 and offer services in English and Spanish for everywhere in the USA.
- Buy child-resistant packaging whenever possible.
- Install child locks on cabinets used to store poisons.
- Keep poisons in their original containers with the labels still attached. That way if something happens, you have all the necessary information on hand. This also helps to stop accidents from happening – if a poison has been placed in something that is thought of as safe, such as tupperware, an old Cool Whip container, or a canning jar, it could be ingested by accident by someone who expects food to be in them.
- Keep poisons away from children and pets. Keep potential poisons, such as cleaning products, medications, vitamins, essential oils, yard chemicals, art supplies, personal care products, alcohol, and make up (yup! even make up!) up and away from children and pets. They should be out of reach for both. Even frequently used medications or products! It is helpful for curious youngsters to keep them out of sight as well! Their bright packaging can look interesting! Think about what is in your handbags, purses, briefcases, etc. Either make sure you keep potential poisons out of them or keep them out of reach of children and pets!
- Always read labels carefully before using medications, household products, or yard products and follow the instructions!
- Never mix household chemicals together! Chemicals can create deadly gases when mixed together, even everyday cleaning supplies should never be mixed!
- Never leave poisons unattended while you are using them. If you need to run into the garage or shed to get another tool or run into the house or another room to answer the phone, close up any poisons first and put them away. Tragic accidents can happen in those few moments!
- Throw away any leftover or unneeded medications, household cleaners, yard chemicals, etc. Learn the proper way to throw them away and then get rid of them.
- If someone has eaten or drank something poisonous, do not make them take something or throw up unless you have been told to do so by a medical professional! Each poison is different. For some poisons, taking something that works for one poison or making someone throw up could make the effects worse.
If you or someone else has come into contact with something you believe to be a poison or you just have questions about poisonings, you can call 1-800-222-1222 to be connected to the closest poison control center in the US or you can check out their interactive website! If someone is having trouble breathing, had a seizure, collapsed, or cannot be woken up, immediately call 9-1-1 instead!