National Poisoning Prevention Week is observed the third week of March every year and brings awareness to household poisonings and resources such as poison control centers and the Poison Control Help Hotline.
It is also an opportunity to inspect your home to ensure household products to include medicines, vitamins, detergent, and cleaners are secured properly. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, a household poisoning occurs every 15 seconds, and every year about 50,000 young children end up in emergency rooms.
In South Carolina, according to the Palmetto Poison Center, 50 percent of calls involved patients under the age of 6.
The Division of Injury and Substance Use Prevention (DISAP) encourages parents and caregivers to keep medications and multivitamins “Up and Away,” out of reach of young children. Parents and caregivers should remember:
- To put medicines away every time, this includes medicines you use every day
- Make sure the medication safety cap is locked
- Buy products in child resistant packaging whenever possible, but remember, child resistant is not childproof and is only meant to be deterrents for a short time when a parent may be distracted
- Teach your children that only a trusted adult will give them their medicine
- Parents should never tell their children medicine is candy to get them to take it
- Remind house guests to keep their purses and bags that may have medicine in them up and away also
“It is also important to keep household items such as toothpaste, cleaners, and rat poison secured,” said Emma Kennedy, Director of DISAP. “Many of these products resemble juice or candy, and because we use them often, they may be readily available and not secured. Keep medicines and household products in their original containers with original label intact, often these labels contain helpful safety information.”
Call the National Poison Control Hotline, 1-800-222-1222, right away if you believe your child may have gotten into medicine, vitamins, or ingested a household product, even if you are not completely sure. The number for poison control is the same wherever you go in the United States.