March 17 – 23 is noted as National Poison Prevention Week. It is the perfect time to raise awareness among families to reduce unintentional poisonings, and promote poison prevention in our corner of the world. When our kids and grandkids were quite young I probably paid more attention to this important topic. It is interesting to note though, that people of all ages are in danger of poisonings.
A few years ago an Extension Agent in a neighboring county shared the educational program titled, “Dangerous look-a-likes.” That information has stuck in my mind, so I will share a few of the things I remember.
- Many household cleaners are the color of Kool-aid or sports drinks. Some even smell like citrus, so it could be very dangerous to have these cleaners left in a space that is accessible by young children. Another important rule here is to make sure you leave cleaners in their original container. If you do put them in another spray bottle, make sure it is clearly marked.
- Look inside your medicine cabinet. Many pills look so much like red hots or other small candies. Children do not know the difference so make sure medicines and supplements are kept far out of reach of young children. Do not refer to medicine or vitamins as candy and do not involve children as helpers with your medication.
- If a person of any age ingests something that is poisonous contact the Poison Control Center at this number (1-800-222-1222) The phone number is manned 24 hours a day.
More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. If a product label says, “Keep out of reach of children” there is a reason. Keep those dangerous things up high and in a locked cabinet. Almost half of poison exposures for children under the age of 5 are caused by medicine. Children have faster metabolisms than adults so anything they ingest will be absorbed into the bloodstream very quicly.
Take a few minutes and do a visual check around your house to make sure you have any poisons out of reach of young children.
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent and District Director for the Cottonwood Extension District. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org