Salisbury, MD — In 1961, President John F. Kennedy designated the third week in March as National Poison Prevention Week in order to raise awareness of the dangers of unintentional poisonings. After all these years, is Poison Prevention Week still needed? Most definitely! According to the CDC, poisonings were the second leading cause of death caused by injury in 2009. Further, nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.
The Maryland Poison Center (MPC) is pleased to announce the release of their new website to kick off National Poison Prevention Week! The new website is designed with a new look and user-friendly navigation, updated with the latest information about poison prevention and poison treatment. We invite you to go to www.mdpoison.com and take a look around!
Every year, the Maryland Poison Center reports approximately 62,000 calls ranging from poisoning emergencies to poison information requests and have approximately 38,000 poisonings and overdoses. In 2011, the center reported that Wicomico County had 864 calls to the Maryland poison center.
Common items such as medicines, personal care products, and household cleaners found in all areas of the home can put children and grandchildren at risk for poisoning. Around 90 percent of poisonings occur in the home. Although it may be inconvenient to keep medicines and cleaners in locked cabinets, this action may save a child’s life.
Follow these suggestions to help keep your children safe:
Leave the original label on all containers. Read them before use and follow directions.
Store potentially poisonous medications and household products out of your child’s sight and reach. Do not leave these supplies unsecured or unattended.
Use child safety locks or child resistant packages when available.
Talk to your children and teach them never to touch or put anything in their mouth unless they ask a grown-up.
Never tell a child that medicine is candy.
Frequently wash the child’s hands, toys, and pacifiers to reduce risk of lead or lead contaminated dust.
The toll-free nationwide poison control center number is 1 (800) 222-1222, where pharmacists and nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to give effective and confidential medical help in English and 150 other languages using interpreters. In case of an emergency or for information, keep the number handy by placing it near all phones and programming it in cell phones. With the help of the poison center, approximately 70% of calls can be managed on site without the need for additional medical care. However, call 911 immediately if your child is not breathing or has collapsed.
For additional information, visit: www.safekids.org/, www.poisonprevention.org/, or www.mdpoison.com.