What You Need To Know: Poison Prevention

Did you know that almost all poisonings happen in the home? According to statistics cited on the Poison Help’s website, more than 90% of the time, this is the case. The rooms where poisonings are most likely to occur are the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. This is why every March, National Poison Prevention Week occurs. It’s important to be aware of how to prevent poisoning in the home.

The number one rule to teach all children is that they should never put anything in their mouth if they don’t know what it is. It’s also important to remember that many poisonous items like medicines and cleaning materials can look like yummy treats. Learn more about unintentional poisonings on another post on the Guardian Blog. Here are a list of poisoning symptoms from that post:

You may not always know immediately if your child has been unintentionally poisoned. Some signs of poisoning, according to the Mayo clinic, include

  • Burns or redness around the mouth and lip
  • Breath that smells like chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion or other altered mental status

Make sure that all medicines and cleaning products are in their original containers. Use warning devices like Mr. Yuk stickers as a signal to children that these items are always off limits. Also be sure to have the Poison Helpline phone number posted (1-800-222-1222) and programmed into your cellphone. Make sure any caretakers/ babysitters know where they can find this number in case of emergency. How do you know when to call the Poison Helpline? Here are their guidelines:

When accidents happen with chemicals, medicine, or household items, call Poison Help. Get help right away from a local poison expert. If someone is unconscious or has trouble breathing, call 911.

Local poison centers can also help. Have their information handy as well.

One last thing you can to do to prevent accidental poisonings is to participate in a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. At these events, often held by police departments, collect any expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs so they can be properly disposed. Having prescription drugs that are no longer being used can be dangerous because of poisoning risk or prescription drug abuse.  The Drug Enforcement Administration hosts National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 29 every year. You can call local law enforcement, your doctor’s office or your pharmacy for more information about other Take-Back events throughout the year.

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