Poison Prevention Starts with You – Protect Your Kids and Pets

By: Administrator Gina McCarthy & Elliot Kaye, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

There are some things in life we can’t control – like traffic or our favorite sports team’s performance. But there are plenty of things we can control—and protecting our kids from poison is one.

This is National Poison Prevention Week, which leads into the start of spring cleaning. It’s important to remember that kids and pets are more sensitive to chemicals than adults. Every second in the United States, there are 25 calls to poison control centers, with the majority related to children. Each year, an estimated 80,000 children go to the emergency room with poisonings. Almost 75 percent of those are from sources in their homes. Let’s make sure our loved ones are not part of those statistics.

Most of us know that household cleaners and sanitizers, insect repellents and medicines can pose a serious poison risk for children. Some of these products are colorful and appealing, and could look like candy or toys to young children. But other poison hazards around our homes might be less familiar. Here are three for you to be especially aware of:

  1. Coin sized batteries in TV remotes and other electronics can cause chemical burns if lodged in the throat. With encouragement from the government, battery manufacturers are working on a design solution that would prevent the deadly poisoning hazard with coin cell/button batteries. But, they are not there yet.
  2. Exposure to the contents of single-load liquid laundry packets have led to at least one tragic death and thousands of children being treated in emergency rooms. At the urging of the government, manufacturers are developing a safety standard that would make it harder for children to get their hands on these poisonous packets. They, too, are not there yet.
  3. Old mercury thermometers can break and must be properly disposed of and cleaned up. Also, mercury is USED IN TRACE AMOUNTS IN [an essential part of] CFL lightbulbs. It allows a bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (i.e., not broken) or in use. If a bulb breaks, follow these important steps: http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/cleaning-broken-cfl.

That’s why this week, and every week, there are some simple steps you can take to poison-proof your home and reduce your child’s chances of poison exposure:

  • Carefully read the label on all products before using them, and follow the label instructions.
  • Keep harmful products out of your child’s reach by storing them in upper cabinets.
  • Install safety latches on lower cabinets to keep kids from exploring their contents.
  • Use child-resistant packaging correctly by tightly sealing the container after every use.
  • Keep products in their original containers, and never put poisonous products in old food or drink containers.

Following easy and inexpensive tips could save your child’s life. Education is key too. Know what to look for, be vigilant, and teach your kids to stay safe.

If your child is exposed to something you think might be poisonous, immediately contact your local Poison Help line by calling the nationwide toll-free number, 800-222-1222.

Spring is almost here. Let’s together aim for a poison-free one for all of our children.

Learn more about protecting you kids from poison: http://www2.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/reduce-your-childs-chances-pesticide-poisoning

Find out more about poison prevention: http://www.poisonprevention.org/index.htm