Poison prevention

Mighty Blog

8 tips to prevent poisoning

With one of the busiest pediatric emergency medicine programs in the nation and more than 90,000 emergency department visits annually for a variety of reasons, you can trust we’ve treated just about everything. We love kids here at Children’s, but we’d rather see them safe at home.

In recognition of Poison Prevention Awareness Week, we’ve gathered tips from our experts. Share these tips with your kids and print them to share at their schools or with your friends. Together, we can make safe simple.

What is Poison Prevention Awareness Week?

National Poison Prevention Awareness Week (March 20-26, 2016) was established by Congress in 1961 for annual, national recognition. The goal of the week is to educate the public about poisoning risks and what to do to prevent poisonings.

Why it’s important

  • More than 90 percent of poisonings occur in the home.
  • Anyone can be poisoned; it doesn’t matter a person’s age, race, ethnicity or career.
  • Poisoning is the No. 1 cause of injury related death in the U.S.
  • The majority of poisonings happen to kids younger than 5 years old.

What you should know

Did you know that injuries are a leading cause of death in children? Each year, 5,000 kids die and another 6 million are hurt as a result of unintentional injuries. One in 4 children is hurt seriously enough to need medical attention. Most childhood injuries occur at home, and many of these injuries, including poisoning, could be prevented.

Facts about poisoning

  • More than 1 million accidental poisonings per year occur in children younger than 6 years old.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 poisonings involves cleaning products.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 poisonings involves indoor and outdoor plants.
  • Approximately 1 in 20 poisonings are caused by cosmetic and personal-care products.

Tips to prevent poisoning

  • Review the poison prevention home checklist from the Minnesota Regional Poison Center.
  • Keep all potential poisons up high and out of the reach of children — preferably in a locked storage container. Set up safe storage areas for medications, household cleaners, and chemicals like antifreeze.
  • Keep medications and vitamins out of the reach of children. Never call medicine “candy.”
  • Keep foods and household products separated.
  • Teach family and kids to never put anything in their mouths unless they know it’s safe to ingest.
  • Keep products in original containers. Do not use food storage containers to store poisonous substances (i.e. plant food in a drink bottle).
  • Destroy old medications.
  • Identify all household plants to determine if poisonous.
  • Post the Poison Control Center phone number, 1-800-222-1222, near each phone in the home.

What do you do if you suspect someone has been poisoned?

  • Swallowed poison: Remove anything remaining in the mouth. If a person is able to swallow, give about 2 ounces of water to drink.
  • Poison in the eye: Gently flush the eye for 10 minutes using medium-warm water.
  • Poison on the skin: Remove any contaminated clothing and rinse skin with large amounts of water for 10 minutes.
  • Inhaled poison: Get fresh air as soon as possible.
  • Call the Poison Control Center, 1-800-222-1222, immediately.

Go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the Poison Help websites for more facts and an FAQ. For more information on poison control, go to the U.S. Health & Human Services website.

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