Increases in accidental overdoses of over-the-counter, prescription and illegal drugs have placed poisonings as one of the fastest-rising causes of accidental death in the United States. An estimated 25,000 people die of unintentional poisonings each year. The majority of the more than 2 million poisoning exposures reported to U.S. poison centers annually involve children.
March 14-20 is National Poison Prevention Week. This awareness event, coordinated by the Poison Prevention Week Council, serves as a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with potential poisoning hazards in your home.
The National Safety Council offers these poison prevention tips for adults and children:
- Always follow a medication’s recommended dosage.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet. Dispose of any unused or expired prescriptions by mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter, sealing and putting in the trash.
- Never take someone else’s medications.
- Use child-resistant caps on medications and keep them tightly closed and out of the sight and reach of children.
- Avoid storing cleaning compounds and food together.
- Keep all substances in their original containers with labels intact for usage and safety information.
- Make sure cleaning products are capped and stored away from a child’s or pet’s reach.
- Use and store toilet bowl cleaners with extra caution.
To recognize National Poison Prevention Week, post the national toll-free number for the Poison Control Center, (800) 222-1222, along with the number of your family doctor near your telephone. You also can get trained in First Aid to learn how to deal with poisonings and other emergency situations.
NSC provides additional information on how to prevent poisonings in your home.