Mahaska Health Partnership Warns about Poison Prevention
MAHASKA COUNTY – March 16 – 22 is National Poison Prevention Week. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there are 10,830 calls to poison centers every day. Mahaska Health Partnership warns about the dangers of potentially poisonous medicines and chemicals and how to keep children safe.
National Poison Prevention Week was established by the U.S. Congress in 1961 to focus national attention on the dangers of poisonings and how they can be prevented. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 51 percent involve children under the age of 6.
“It is important to know what everyday items are poison risks, especially if you have little ones running around,” MHP Pediatrician Dr. John O’Brien stressed. “Household cleaners, medications, plants and many other items can pose a risk to your child’s safety.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), children under the age of 6 are at the highest risk for poisoning. “Keep all medications in child-proof containers, including over-the-counter items like acetaminophen,” reminded Dr. O’Brien. “Even though they do not require a prescription, a child can potentially ingest a dangerous amount of pills. Medications can resemble candy, so children will eat them without reservation, putting them at greater risk for poisonings.”
Other household items that can potentially be poisonous include perfume, nail polish, deodorant, soap and laundry detergent. “We often forget how dangerous some of the items we use on a daily basis can be for children. Curiosity, smell and color can easily entice a child. We must keep these items out of their reach or locked in a secure place when not in use.”
The HHS suggests keeping all medicines and household cleaners in locked cabinets and out of sight and reach of children. Do not carry poisonous items in your purse that a child could get into, such as medications, unless they have a child resistant cap. Finally, use safety latches on doors and cabinets.
“Children are naturally curious, so make sure you safegaurd your home by placing potentially dangerous items out of reach and sight,” encouraged Dr. O’Brien. “Anything that isn’t food can pose a risk if ingested so closely monitor your children. If you do need to contact poison control, have the container from the item they ingested available to you.”
In case of a poison emergency, contact your local poison center at 1.800.222.1222.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit www.mahaskahealth.org.