TOPEKA – (March 22, 2016) – In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Kansas Child Death Review Board today reminded parents and caregivers of the dangers of poison and the importance of keeping children away from poisonous items.
“Many accidents can be prevented by taking some common-sense steps to make sure dangerous substances are out of the reach of children,” Schmidt said. “I encourage all Kansans to take stock this week and make sure these substances are stored safely.”
Small children are not the only victims of poisoning. Youth and teens have the potential to use prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and other chemicals in their home in ways that are dangerous and life threatening.
“While most accidental poisonings happen to children under the age of 6, there is also a growing number of poisonings from intentional ingestion in older children and adolescents,” said Sara Hortenstine, executive director of the Child Death Review Board. “Being mindful of the products in your home and the dangers they can pose to children of all ages is very important. Take inventory of medications and chemicals in your home that are accessible and make sure to follow the storage recommendations.
“Parents and caregivers should keep all medications, personal care products, household cleaning products, and other potentially harmful chemicals in their original containers, in places that cannot be accessed by the children or youth in their home. Remember that no container or storage method is 100 percent childproof. Talk to your children about the dangers of the items in your home and use proper supervision at all times.”
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 not properly stored before the visit. Unused medications should be properly disposed to prevent accidental ingestion or intentional misuse. Medicines can be dropped off at many law enforcement centers year-round for proper disposal. Additionally, National Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled next month on Saturday, April 30. Unused medications will be accepted on that date for disposal at many special drop-off sites throughout the state. A list of drop-off locations will be available on the Attorney General’s website, www.ag.ks.gov, prior to the event.
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 1-800-222-1222 to be connected to a poison control center in your area or call 911.