March 1999 - Volume 2 - Issue 3
Health & Safety
- March 21-27, 1999
- National Poison Prevention Week
- "Children Act Fast ... So Do Poisons!"
- By Holly Martinac
National Poison Prevention Week
The third week of this month is National Poison Prevention Week.
Each year thousands of children are accidently poisoned. Many suffer serious injuries and
many die from swallowing medicines, polishes, insecticides, drain cleaners, bleaches,
household chemicals and garage products.
According to the 1996 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control
Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System, about 5 million poisoning exposures occurred
in the United States in 1996. It also reports that 91% of all poisonings occurred in the
home, and 53% involved children under the age of 6 years. The National Center for Health
Statistics reports that each year nearly 900,000 visits to the emergency room occur
because of poisoning.
Public Law 87-319, an Act of Congress, was signed into law on September 16, 1961 by
President Kennedy. The law authorizes the President to designate annually the third week
in March as National Poison Prevention Week. The Poison Prevention Week Council was
organized to coordinate this annual event. The event is intended as a means for local
communities to raise awareness of the dangers of accidental poisonings and to take such
preventive measures as the dangers warrant. "Children Act Fast ... So Do
Poisons!" is the phrased coined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in it's
effort to educate the community about the dangers and speed of poison.
Parents must always be watchful when household chemicals or drugs are being used. Many
incidents occur when a product is being used and then the parent becomes distracted; for
example, by being on the telephone.
Yourself and Your Family
Keep all household chemical products and medicines (especially iron pills and food
supplements containing iron) out of sight of youngsters and LOCKED UP when not in use.
Always supervise children who are taking medication and vitamins. Always read and
follow directions on labels. NEVER call medicine candy to entice a child to take it.
Always be clear that medicine is medicine.
Store all medicines separately from household products, and store all household
chemical products away from food.
Keep products in their original containers, with labels in place. For household
cleaning supplies such as a diluted bleach solution, CLEARLY mark appropriate cleaning
utility spray bottle containers of the exact contents. For example: one part bleach to ten
Use poison symbols to identify dangerous substances and teach children what they mean.
NEVER use cups or soft drink bottles to hold paint thinner, turpentine, gasoline or
other household chemicals. Children associate cups and drink bottles with food or drink.
Dispose of out dated medications and household products properly and in a timely
manner. For example: pour contents in the toilet, flush, then rinse container before
discarding. For children in foster care, if they are still in placement, you should
document what you have done with the out dated medication.
Be aware of young children's growing capacities to explore and experiment. Natural
curiosity can lead to poisonings when chemicals or medications are within reach and
parents are not paying close attention.
Rules and Regulations
Quality Standards for 24-Hour Facility - 7.714.195 (General Comfort
A - All hazardous chemicals, tools, and other
equipment, including matches, plastic bags, paints, gasoline, medicines, insecticides, and
cleaning and laundry materials, shall be stored out of reach of young children. Products
which could cause poisoning or contamination shall not be stored in rooms or areas where
food is stored or prepared.
H - The facility shall have a telephone, and
emergency numbers shall be posted near the telephone, including those related to medical
care, fire, law enforcement, and poison control. Those having legal custody of each child
shall be readily available.
Mr. Fred Alderman and other members from Colorado State Licensing have said that
medications must be strictly monitored, documented (ie: Presidio's Medication Log), and
must also be kept in a LOCKED location. Even refrigerated medications can be placed in a
small lock box and kept in the refrigerator.
Aid For Poisoning
Keep the phone number for the poison control center, your doctor and your local
hospital near the phone. The phone number for the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center is:
303-739-1123. Please check the inside cover of your phone book to be sure this is the
correct number for your community.
Always keep a bottle of Syrup of Ipecac and Epsom Salts in your home. Both can be found
in the pharmacy of your grocery store. One makes you vomit and the other may be used as a
laxative. They are used sometimes when poisons are swallowed DO NOT USE THEM UNLESS THE
POISON CENTER OR YOUR DOCTOR INSTRUCTS YOU TO DO SO, AND FOLLOW THEIR DIRECTIONS FOR USE!
Inhaled Poisons: Carry the patient immediately to fresh air.
Call the poison center or your doctor.
Poisons on the skin: Remove the affected clothing and flood the
involved parts with luke warm water. Wash with soapy water and rinse. Call the poison
center or your doctor.
Swallowed poisons: If the person is awake and can swallow, give
ONLY water or milk ONLY to drink. Call the poison center or your doctor. DO NOT give salt,
vinegar or lemon juice.
Poisons in the eye: flush with luke warm (never hot) water
poured from a pitcher 3 to 4 inches from the eye for 15 minutes. Call the poison center or
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