This week marks the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week. Organized by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the week is dedicated to educating the public about unintentional poisoning and the ways such injuries can be prevented.
Though unintentional poisoning is a leading cause of injury to children, it also affects adults. Most poison-related emergencies involve children, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, but most deaths involve adults.
Poison prevention requires some vigilance, but when the following steps are taken, injuries can be prevented:
- Keep medications and hazardous substances in original child-resistant containers.
- Leave labels on all products. If moving a product to a different container, cut out the original label and attach it to the new container.
- Store hazardous substances high up and away from children's hands and eyes. Many children can open cabinets equipped with child safety locks.
- Do not leave children unsupervised when using hazardous materials.
- Do not allow children to play with button cell batteries. Dispose of them safely.
- Beware of decorative lamp oil -- it is very toxic.
- Routinely clean out your medicine cabinet to remove any outdated items.
- Always double-check that you are taking the right dose and type of medication.
If you or your children are victims of unintentional poisoning, call the toll-free national Poison Help hotline at 800-222-1222. In fact, keep the number posted on your fridge. A quick response is key to poison prevention.