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Location, Location, LOCATION! Keep Your Children Safe from Poison
by Kim Green-Spangler
There were typically more than 1 million calls made to Poison Control each year. In 1961 National Poison Prevention Week was established in order to try to mitigate this problem.

A poison is a substance that can cause injury, illness or death. It can be swallowed by mouth, splashed in the eyes or onto the skin, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin in a large enough quantity to cause harm. Depending on the substance, the circumstance and the size of the individual, it can be fast-acting or very slow. Some potential poisons are: all prescription medicines, vitamins and supplements, herbal products, essential oils, oils (including baby oil), craft supplies, car care/maintenance products, plants, cleaning products, antiseptics, food, make-up, perfumes and after shave, shaving cream, alcoholic beverages, vanilla extract, hair products, paints and thinner, kerosene, lighter fluid, mineral spirits, office supplies, mothballs, and tobacco products. These are just some of the things that can poison someone. To be safe, always assume that something is poisonous instead of assuming that it isn't.

Why does poisoning occur? It takes but a second for a child to stick something in his/her mouth. In the time it takes a parent to go to the bathroom, grab a forgotten item, answer the phone, or get the doorbell, children can poison themselves. Findings show that poisonings tend to occur more frequently around mealtimes, when children are hungry or thirsty and their parents are distracted due to meal preparation. The easiest form of poison prevention is to never leave children alone, especially when using a potentially poisonous product, even if it's for just a minute.

Remember location, location, location is the key. Move everything poisonous, including cleaning supplies, medicines/vitamins, perfumes, etc. to places where little fingers cannot access them. Make sure cleaning products and medicines are stored in separate locations. Remember that latches will not prevent a problem, simply slow it down. So don't rely on latches for security and/or complete peace of mind. Most children love to climb, so when possible make sure there is literally no access to your storage spots. Children like to imitate parents. Try not to let them see you take medication, and ladies watch out for your purses. Make sure all travel medicines have safety caps. Keep household plants away from children and pets. Remember to poison-proof the garage as well as the house.

If there is a suspected poisoning, stay calm and call poison control immediately! Don't wait for symptoms before making the call. Keep the number posted in an easily accessible location, or even on the phone (1-800-222-1222), and let everyone who cares for the children know where it is. Also, make sure the names of all medicines, household products and plants are known.

For more information, please visit http://www.poisonprevention.org.

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