National Poison Prevention Week 2022

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National Poison Prevention Week is March 20th-26th, and this year’s theme is “Here for the Ages”. Poisons are a danger to everyone but are especially dangerous for children. Every year thousands of children are treated in emergency departments for ingesting medication or after unintentionally being given the incorrect amount (1).

Follow these tips to prevent poison injuries:

Administer Medicine Safely:

Dosing errors occur when a parent or caregiver gives too much or too little medication. This is the most common type of medication errors that bring children into the emergency department. Most often, confusion about units of measurement, such as milliliter (mL) vs teaspoons (tsp) leads to dosing errors. Medical professionals recommend using milliliters (mL) when giving oral liquid medications. Household spoons should never be used since they often vary in size and shape. It is extremely important that you use the correct dosing device that comes with your child’s medicine to ensure the correct amount is given (2).

Storing Medicine Safely:

Ensuring that medicines, both over the counter (OTC) and prescription, are stored in a safe location is equally important to ensuring correct dosages are administered. Medicines should be secured up and out sight/reach of young children. Here are some simple tips to keep medicines secure away from children (2):

  • Choose a safe location in your home to store medicines that is out of sight and out of reach of young children. Keep all medications (OTC, prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements) away.
  • Lock the safety cap (the child-resistant lids) each time you use a medicine bottle. If the cap turns, make sure you hear the click of the lock when you close it, and that you cannot twist the cap anymore.
  • Put medicines away immediately after locking the safety cap each time they are used.
  • Remind guests in your home to keep purses, bags, or coats that may have medicines in them out of reach of children.
  • Find a safe storage space like a lock box or high cabinet to store medicines when traveling.

Storing Household Products:

  • Store harmful cleaning products up and out of sight and reach of young children.
  • Keep all household cleaning products in their original containers as there is often an additional layer of protection.
  • Remember, that bathroom products like hygiene solutions and hair/skin care products are also poisons when not used as directed or if ingested. Store these products securely and put them away immediately after use.

Check your home for household poisons (3):

  • Check your home for lead-based paint. This applies to homes built before 1978. If lead hazards are identified, call the National Lead Information Center (1-800-424-5323) for detailed information.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Make sure these is one on every level of your home. If the Carbon monoxide alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and move to a safe location outside where you can breathe in fresh air before you call for help.
  • It is important to check for product recalls periodically. Check for more information on product recalls.

Remember to save the Poison Help Number in your phone and have It posted in central locations of your home. The TN Poison Center is open 365 days, 24/7. The Poison Help Hotline is 800-222-1222. The Help Hotline is available anytime for families and is operated by nurses, doctors, and pharmacists. Call the poison control center immediately if you think your child has ingested or been exposed to a medication or other poison!