About once every seven minutes a child received emergency room treatment for
unintentional poisoning in 2003. In 2002, more than 1.2 million unintentional
poisonings among children ages five and under were reported to U.S. Poison Control
Centers. Nearly 90 percent of all poisonings occur in the home.
Children are at significantly greater risk from poisoning death and exposure
than adults because they are smaller, have faster metabolic rates, and are
less able to physically handle toxic chemicals. Also, their curiosity and
desire to put everything in their mouths increases their poisoning risk.
Canadian Statistics: Between 1997 and 1998, 2,131 children ages 14
and under were hospitalized for unintentional poisonings. In 1997, eight children
were fatally poisoned.
Single nationwide phone number for poison control
When you call 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the U.S., Puerto Rico, or
the U.S. Virgin
Islands, you're automatically connected to the nearest poison control center.
Walk from room to room with your children and investigate poison hazards in your
home. Write down the name of each poison you find. Make sure they are in their
original containers and are properly labeled. Put a check mark next to those that
are stored in their original, child-resistant packaging, locked out of children's
sight and reach (and remove any that are not to a safe, locked place). Let your
children know that poisons should be handled by grown-ups only.
products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, rust remover, furniture
polish, lamp oil, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, kerosene, paint thinner,
nail polish, mouthwash.
and non-prescription medicines, cold medicines, pain relievers, iron pills.
mushrooms, holly berries, philodendron, foxglove (left), pokeweed (right).
Go through magazines with your children and identify items that are safe to eat
and items that are poisonous. Cut the safe pictures in the shape of a circle and
the poisonous pictures in a triangle shape. Then create a "safe/poisonous" poster
with your pictures to hang on your refrigerator as a reminder. Explain to your
children that they need to ask your permission before eating anything you haven't
Have your children help post the telephone number of the Poison Control
Center by the phone, 1-800-222-1222. Let children know if they suspect a poisoning
emergency, stay calm and get help from a grown-up. If no grown-up is available,
should call the Poison Control Center immediately.
For more information about the Poison Control Center, visit American
Association of Poison Control Centers' Web site. Children can also call 911
(if you live in an area that offers 911 as an emergency number), or dial the "0"
to reach the operator for help.
Data Sources: American Association of Poison Control Centers,
Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Consumer Product Safety
Commission, National SAFE KIDS Campaign®,
Safe Kids Canada.
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Each year approximately 24 childern ages 14 and under are fatally poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas.
laboratory-listed CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of accumulating
CO. But remember that CO alarms are NOT replacements for smoke alarms. Make sure
your family knows the difference between the sound of the smoke alarms and CO
alarms in your home.