ACEP Says "Prevent Poison," Observes 50th National Poison Prevention Week

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The American College of Emergency Physicians urges the public to learn how to "prevent poison" during the 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), March 18-24, 2012. 

"Emergency physicians see poisonings every day in the ER, which is why we urge people to learn about the potential dangers lurking right in their homes," said the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, David Seaberg, MD, FACEP.  "Parents in particular should be alert to those items that might entice a child to put something in their mouth.  Children act fast and so do poisons."

First established by Congress in September 1961, NPPW is one of the longest continuously running health and safety campaigns in the United States.  Its key goal is to create national awareness about the risk of injury or death due to poisoning. From unintentional child poisonings with household products to prescription medicine abuse, poisonings and poisoning-related incidents affect every community.

Child-resistant packaging on medicines and household products as well as the prohibition of lead-based paint in homes are among poisoning prevention successes. However, emerging hazards involving pest control products, prescription medicine abuse and button batteries have again reignited the need for increased awareness. In just the past year, America's 57 poison control centers fielded 4 million calls.

Here are some tips for preventing poisoning of children:

  • Store your medicines in a place that is too high for a child to reach or see.
  • Use only rat and mouse control household products that are contained in a tamper-resistant bait station (not loose bait and pellets), to protect children from exposure to the bait.
  • Ask houseguests and visitors to keep purses, bags or coats that have medicines in them up and away and out of sight when they are in your home.
  • Keep cleaning supplies and medicines locked up and away from children.
  • Call your local poison center right away if a battery is missing from a toy or other household item.  A swallowed button battery can be deadly for a child.

"Every household should have the national Poison Help Line phone number posted by the telephone," said Dr. Seaberg.  "The Help Line, 1.800.222.1222, connects you to your local poison center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year."

For more information, visit the PPWC website at poisonprevention.org.