March 16-22, 2014 is national Poison Prevention Week. The links below are letters from the Injury Prevention & Surveillance program on how different interest groups can become involved in poison prevention education activities throughout Idaho.
Accidental Poisoning is a Public Health Issue
During 2011 (the most recent year for which poison fatality data is available) poisoning was the third leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among Idahoans, subsequent only to motor vehicle crashes and falls. That year, a total of 117 Idahoans died as the result of accidental poisoning and exposure to noxious substances.
According to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center (NRPC), Idaho’s regional poison control center, over 17,000 calls were received during 2012 from Idaho residents and healthcare providers seeking advice and consultation in poison exposure in people of all ages.
The majority of these calls (58.8%) were received from parents of children aged 5 years and younger who were unintentionally exposed to poisons in the home. Nearly three of every four calls placed to the NRPC are for children 19 years and younger.
Almost 60% of All Poison Center Calls Are For Children Under the Age of 5 Years
The leading causes of poison episodes in Idaho children are analgesics (pain killers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen); cosmetics and personal care products; household cleaning and automotive products; foreign bodies (including magnets); and topical preparations (for example, diaper cream). 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. Calls are free and 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."
- Be aware of any legal or illegal drugs that guests may bring into your home. Do not let guests leave 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.
Read how to prevent lead poisoning.
To learn more about poisoning in Idaho, go to Idaho Poison Control Facts