Last year, more than 30,000 children in Tennessee were harmed by poisonous substances found in their own homes. The lack of safety latches on cabinets, the careless handling of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, and the natural curiosity of children are only some of the conditions that contributed to these accidental poisonings.


The third week of March (20th - 26th) is the forty-fourth observance of National Poison Prevention Week. This is a time when communities should call attention to the steps we can take to prevent accidental poisonings.


Below are some common questions regarding National Poison Prevention Week and poison prevention:


1.   What is National Poison Prevention Week?

President Kennedy first designated National Poison Prevention Week in 1961. Congress intended this event as a means for local communities to raise awareness of the dangers of unintentional poisonings and to take such preventive measures as the dangers warrant.


2.   Is there a special theme for National Poison Prevention Week?

Yes, the theme is "Children Act fast…So Do Poisons!" Although anyone can be poisoned, children under five years are the mostly likely victims of accidental poisoning. Parents must always be watchful when household chemicals or drugs are being used. Many incidents happen when adults are using a product but are distracted (for example, by the telephone or the doorbell) for a few moments. Children act fast, and adults must make sure that household chemicals and medicines are stored away from children at all times.


3.   What activities are planned for National Poison Prevention Week?

Tennessee Poison Center has sent information regarding the dangers of accidental poisoning to newspapers, radio stations, television stations and health organizations throughout the state. There should be some media attention, both national and local, during this week.


Please visit our website for more information regarding poison prevention and National Poison Prevention Week.


We have poison prevention literature available free of charge (nominal shipping fee). Please call 936-0760 if you would like literature for your patients.


Thank you for helping us spread the message of poison prevention.

As always, if there any questions, call Tennessee Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.


Donna Seger, M.D.

Medical Director, Tennessee Poison Center