National Poison Prevention Week
National Poison Help Line 1-800-222-1222
“Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons!”
“Poisoning Spans a Lifetime.”
March 20 through 26 is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2016 National Poison Prevention Week. This makes it a good time to review the medications, cleaning chemicals, pesticides, laundry detergents, and other chemicals your keep around the house, particularly if you have children or pets. A recent survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding pesticide use in and around the home revealed that almost half (47%) of all households with children under the age of 5 had at least one pesticide stored in an unlocked cabinet, and less than 4 feet off the ground (i.e., within reach of children). The survey also found that 75% of households without children under the age of 5 also stored one pesticide within reach of children.
A few selected recommendations are listed below. Please see the links under “Sources” at the bottom of the page for complete information.
- Always read the label: review all warnings and storage recommendations for everything you buy, and regularly review directions for safe use.
- Store items out of reach and out of sight of children or pets: cabinet locks found at any hardware store can help keep little fingers and paws away from danger.
- See your home from the perspective of children and pets: crawl around on your hands and knees to spot potential issues you might not usually see.
- Never store cleaning chemicals, pesticides, laundry detergents, or anything else potentially dangerous in containers that could be mistaken for food or drink (i.e. cups, water bottles).
- Keep chemicals in their original containers; or if transferring them to something such as a spray bottle, label it very clearly along with particular dangers (i.e. use with gloves).
- Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after use or if you have to step away from a container you are in the process of using.
- Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicine; always check the dosage. Avoid taking medicine in front of children and never refer to it as “candy.”
- Alert all adults and caregivers coming into your home to potential dangers. When travelling to a home without children or pets (i.e. grandparents), make sure they have gone through these steps to avoid problems. A study conducted for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission by the American Association of Poison Control Centers found that 23 percent of the oral prescription drugs that were ingested by children under 5 belonged to someone who did not live with the child.
- Keep the number for Local Poison Control in a prominent place in your house and programmed on your cell phone: 800-222-1222.
- Hold on to the label of anything someone might have ingested in order to provide the information to emergency personnel.
By following and reviewing these basic guidelines as well as the information provided by the EPA and HRSA at the links below, you can ensure the safety of everyone under your roof.
US Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Services Administration – Poison Help: http://www.poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/
EPA - Pesticides: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides
EPA - Reduce Your Child’s Chances of Pesticide Poisoning: https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/reduce-your-childs-chances-pesticide-poisoning
EPA - Protecting Pets from Fleas and Ticks: https://www.epa.gov/pets