National Poison Prevention Week

21 Mar

This is not something that’s really fun to admit, but, I have had to call poison control on one occasion.  My middle daughter came out of the bathroom holding a tube of hydrocortisone I had been using to treat my oldest child with.  I left it in a spot on the counter where I did not think any of the kids could reach it.  I was wrong.  When she came out, she said she had eaten it and that it tasted “gross”.  Upon further questioning, I figured she thought it was toothpaste.  I called poison control, and fortunately for us, hydrocortisone is not hazardous in the small amount that she had consumed.  It was an eye opening experience for me though, about leaving anything unsafe where my children can reach.

March 20th through the 26th this year is National Poison Prevention Week. Unintentional poisoning was second only to motor vehicle crashes as a cause of unintentional injury death in 2007 (CDC 2010). Between 2004 and 2005, an estimated 71,000 children (<18 years of age) were seen in emergency departments each year because of medication poisonings (excluding abuse and recreational drug use). Over 80 percent were because an unsupervised child found and consumed medicines (Schillie et al. 2009). In 2002, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that there were 1,386,868 children age 5 and under exposed to potentially poisonous substances.

The poison prevention website lists the following ten housekeeping tips to keep your kids safe:

  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after use.
  • Keep all chemicals and medicines locked up and out of sight.
  • Call the poison center 1-800-222-1222 immediately in case of poisoning.
  • When products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even if you must take the child or product along when answering the phone or doorbell.
  • Keep items in original containers.
  • Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before using.
  • Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where children can reach them because lamp oil is very toxic.
  • Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicine. Check the dosage every time.
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as “medicine,” not “candy.”
  • Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically, and safely dispose of unneeded medicines when the illness for which they were prescribed is over. Pour contents down drain or toilet, and rinse the container before discarding.

For more information regarding poison prevention, please visit


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