Increasing poison awareness during National Poison Prevention W - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Increasing poison awareness during National Poison Prevention Week

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Many common household items could pose a danger to your children. The items like laundry detergent 'pods,' children's detangling spray and alcohol-based hand sanitizers can land children in the hospital from ingesting or inhaling the projects. Brooke Wilson is an educator with the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center. She explains the surprising items children are drawn to and how to poison-proof each room of your home.

The Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center of Kosair Children's Hospital fields calls for the entire state of Kentucky. In 2012, the center answered more than 72,000 calls from concerned parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers encompassing everything from insect bites to medication ingestion.


On average, the poison center's hotline at (800) 222-1222 receives a call every 7 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - more than 72,000 calls annually - from all of Kentucky's 120 counties. Three of every four patients from those calls are successfully managed safely and inexpensively at home, reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and/or shortening hospital stays.

Child-resistant packaging on medicines and household products as well as the prohibition of using lead-based paint in homes are among poisoning prevention successes, and have significantly contributed to improved safety. However, emerging hazards involving pest control products, prescription medicine abuse, button batteries and the introduction of products promoting "legal highs" have reignited the need for increased awareness. In just the past year, America's 57 poison control centers fielded 4 million calls, treating 2.4 million human poison exposures and handling 1.6 million information calls.

The largest number of calls receiveC are about over-the-counter medications, including pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, as well as cough and cold products.  There are also a high number of calls around insecticides and rat poisons.

The best thing parents and caregivers can do is poison-proof all areas of homes and businesses. Simply placing things out of reach or locking cabinets can make a big difference. But also realizing that caps that are child-resistant are not child-proof. This means that any child can get these tops off given enough time, which may be only a few minutes."

To poison-proof your home, follow these guidelines in each room:

·     Move cleaning products from under the sink to upper shelves or locked cabinets.
·     Remove medicines - including vitamins - from countertops, windowsills and open areas.
·     Store all household products away from food items.
·     Make sure all harmful products in your home have child-resistant caps.
·     Be sure all potentially harmful products are kept in their original containers.
Living room
·     Keep plants out of the reach of children.
·     Keep cigarettes and cigarette butts out of the reach of children.
·     Do not leave children unattended around visitors' belongings.
·     Keep all medicines, cosmetics, perfumes, mouthwashes, etc., out of sight and out of reach of children, or lock them up.
·    Never take medication in front of your children or give medication to older children in front of younger siblings to avoid copycat behavior.
·     Move cleaning products, such as drain and toilet bowl cleaners, from under the sink to upper shelves of closets or locked cabinets.
·     Properly discard medications at medication drop-off sites.
·     Remove medicines from dressers and bedside tables.
·     Keep perfumes, nail polish remover, powder and similar products out of reach of children.
·     Place a carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home and test and replace batteries as often as the smoke detector.
Laundry area
·     Keep all bleaches, soaps and detergents out of reach of children or in a locked cabinet. Even the new laundry and dishwasher "pods" pose a threat to young children when bitten.
·     Keep insect sprays, weed killers and fertilizers in locked storage.
·     Keep turpentine, paints, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, rust removers and motor oils in locked storage.
·     Keep products in their original containers with original labels.

Go to, the website of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center of Kosair Children's Hospital, and choose public education, resources for children  to play the "Pick the Poison Game." The game can help children learn about poisons found in the home.
For more information about household poisons and preventing poisoning, visit

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