DHEC Promotes National Poison Prevention Week

DHEC is joining others across the country to promote National Poison Prevention Week.  

“National Poison Prevention week is a good reminder to check our home for potentially dangerous items left out in plain view,” said Emma Kennedy, Director of DHEC’s Division of Injury and Substance Abuse Prevention (DIASP). “Because we use household items regularly, they may be readily accessible and not stored to keep children safe.”  

This observance was first recognized by Congress in 1961 and is organized each year by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). This year HRSA is promoting the #EveryMinuteCountssocial media campaign. This campaign is meant to bring awareness to the importance of calling for help after exposure to any poison including gases, batteries, and substances (i.e., drugs). Those who require help can call the National Poison Control line at 800-222-1222 or request help online here.   

The National Poison Control Center received 2,128,198 calls related to human poison exposures in 2020. The center also found that children under the age of 6 do have a disproportionately high rate of exposure, although teens and adults typically have more serious life-threatening cases.   

In South Carolina, according to the Palmetto Poison Center, 50 percent of calls involved children under the age of 6. The Palmetto Poison Center, which is located within the University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy, is a free service providing assistance to all counties in South Carolina and assists over 33,000 callers per year.   

DISAP encourages parents and caregivers to keep medications and multivitamins “Up and Away,” out of reach of young children. Parents and caregivers should remember:   

  • 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 a deterrent 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”    

A household checklist from The Palmetto Poison Centers ensures parents and caregivers have secured potentially dangerous items and have the Center’s number handy in the event of a poison emergency.  

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