LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2010) – 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 medicines are kept. As National Poison Prevention Week (March 14-20) approaches, Safe Kids Fayette County, led by Kentucky Children's Hospital, 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 Sherri Hannan, a nurse and coordinator of Safe Kids Fayette County. “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 has been 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,” Hannan said. “Keep it up high and in a locked cabinet.”
Safe Kids Fayette County reminds parents to learn the toll-free poison control center number: 1-800-222-1222. This number connects you to your local poison control center from anywhere in the United States.
“Keep it near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone,” said Hannan. “If a child is choking, having trouble breathing or having a seizure, call 911 instead. Follow the 911 operator’s instructions. Do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed.”
Safe Kids Fayette County offers additional tips. For more information, go to www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-spotlight/poison-prevention-week/.
For more information about poison prevention or Safe Kids Fayette County, call (859) 323-1153 or go to www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/safekids.
Safe Kids Fayette County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Its members include health and safety experts, educators, community leaders, corporations, foundations, government representatives and volunteers to educate and protect families. Safe Kids Fayette County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Fayette County was founded in 1994 under the direction of Kentucky Children's Hospital.