During 2008, poisoning was the third leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among Idahoans, behind motor vehicle crashes and falls. That year, a total of 112 Idahoans died as the result of accidental poisoning and exposure to harmful substances.
Idaho’s regional poison control center received over 16,000 calls during 2009 from Idaho residents and healthcare providers seeking advice and consultation in poison exposure in people of all ages.
The majority of these calls (63.7%) were received from parents of children aged 5 years and younger who were unintentionally exposed to poisons in the home. Three of every four calls placed to the poison center are for children 19 years and younger.
The leading causes of poisoning in Idaho children are pain killers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen; creams and ointments such diaper cream; foreign bodies, particularly toys; drying agents such as the silica gel packets found in many products' packaging; cosmetic and personal care products; and household cleaning and automotive products. Most of these poisoning exposures occur in the child’s own home.
Keep Young Children Safe from Poisoning
- Put the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Keep all drugs in medicine cabinets or other childproof cabinets that young children cannot reach.
- Turn on a light when you prepare medicines for children so that you know you have the correct amount of the right medicine.
- Avoid taking medicine in front of children because they often copy adults.
- Do not call medicine "candy."
- Do not let guests leave legal or illegal drugs where children can find them, for example, in a pillbox, purse, backpack, or coat pocket.
- When you take medicines yourself, do not put your next dose on the counter or table where children can reach them.
- Never leave children alone with household products or drugs. If you are using chemical products or taking medicine and you have to do something else, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
- Do not leave household products out after using them. Return the products to a childproof cabinet as soon as you are done with them.
- Identify poisonous plants in your house and yard and place them out of reach of children or remove them.
To learn more about poisoning in Idaho, go to Idaho Poison Control Facts