TOPEKA – (March 18, 2011) – In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Kansas Child Death Review Board remind parents and caregivers of the dangers of poison and the importance of keeping children away from poisonous items.
“Unfortunately, poisoning is a common childhood injury,” Schmidt said. “However, a few easy steps can help prevent most poisoning incidents and keep harmful materials out of the hands of children.”
“Children need supervision at all times,” added Angela Nordhus, executive director of the Child Death Review Board. “Lack of supervision is an underlying factor in many of the Board's cases. Children are especially at risk when they are unsupervised and medicine has been left out.”
A poison is anything that can cause sickness or death if it gets into or on the body. Poisons come in several forms:
- Solids - Examples include pills, batteries, plants, and berries.
- Gases - Poisonous gases like carbon monoxide are invisible and are often odorless, unless it contains an additive to make it smell as is the case with propane.
- Liquids - Liquid poisons can be any color and are creamy, gummy, or watery. Examples include household cleaning products, antifreeze, medicine, gasoline, paint, and farm chemicals.
- Sprays - Spray poisons come from a can or bottle. They can easily get into your eyes, mouth, or lungs. Examples of spray poisons include lawn/garden sprays, household cleaning products, and cosmetic products.
Most poisoning events take place at home. However, incidents have occurred where children visiting grandparents were poisoned after ingesting their grandparent’s medication, which was improperly stored before the visit. Pills dropped unnoticed onto the floor or left lying around create a high risk for poisoning.
Children between the ages of eight months and six years are the most likely to be poisoned. However, infants are at a higher risk for poisons ingested through the air, such as carbon monoxide or secondhand smoke.
The following tips can help prevent poisoning:
- Provide supervision to children at all times.
- Do not assume a child cannot open a medicine bottle. Many medications resemble candy and children will mistake them as such. Store all medications in locked cabinets out of the reach of children.
- Store all household cleaning products and outdoor chemicals, such as lawn/garden sprays, bug sprays, gasoline, etc., in a child-proof cabinet or shed.
- Do not smoke in the same room with a child.
- Teach children the importance of not consuming unknown items.
If you discover your child has ingested a harmful product, call the Poison Center at (800) 222-1222 and you will be connected to a poison control center in your area.