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March 19, 2014
March 16-22, 2014 is National Poison Prevention Week! As adults, it’s often easy to avoid poisoning with a little common sense. But how safe are children and pets in your home?
In 2012, poison control centers received more than 3.4 million calls—that’s one call every 8 seconds! According to the American Association of Poison Centers, the poisoning of children under 6 years of age accounts for almost 50% of these calls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every day more than 300 children in the United States ages 0 to 19 are treated in emergency rooms and two of those children will die as a result of poisoning.
Most poisoning emergencies are preventable. Read below for prevention tips and download the room-by-room checklist to poison-proof your home.
Post the nationwide poison control center phone number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every telephone in your home and program it into your cell phone. You can call the poison control center 24/7 if you think a child has been poisoned and they are awake and alert. Call 911 if you suspect poisoning and your child has collapsed or is not breathing.
Read all warnings and follow the directions on the label when giving medicines to children.
Safely dispose of unused, unneeded or expired medications, vitamins and supplements. To dispose of medicines, mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw them away.
Never leave medications, pesticides and other household chemical products unattended when you are using them.
Never transfer pesticides or household chemical products to non-labeled containers.
Never reuse empty chemical containers, even if you thoroughly washed the container.
Seal products after each use and store out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet.
Never mix household products together. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can result in toxic gases.
If you use mouse or rat poison, make sure the bait stations are tamper-resistant.
Before applying pesticides (inside or outside the home) remove children, pets and toys. Read the label to determine when it is safe to return to the area.
Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector one each level of your home.
Have your home and child tested for lead.
Download this checklist for a list of steps that can help parents identify sources of household product dangers in the home. As you conduct this room-by-room inspection, get down to a child’s level so no potential hazards go unnoticed.
Sources: CDC, EPA