Household Poisons: The Overlooked Hazard

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 61 Poison Control Centers (PCCs) across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.

Despite the emphasis many parents place on "child-proofing" their homes, young children are still at risk of poisoning accidents in most American households, according to a recent study by the Home Safety Council.

The study reveals that in 80 percent of households with small children, medicines are kept in unsecured areas. In addition, dangerous chemicals, such as cleaning products and pesticides, are improperly stored in 50 percent of households with young kids.

During National Poison Prevention Week, parents are reminded that poisoning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the home, and that children under 7 are at the greatest risk. To keep curious little hands out of harm's way in your home:

  • Do a walk-through of your house to make sure that all potentially harmful chemicals are stored safely with child-resistant closures, and placed on high shelves or in high cabinets.

  • Never remove labels from product containers. If your child swallows the chemicals in these containers, you may need to know exactly what it is or be able to refer to the first-aid information on the wrapper.

  • Never store medicine in your nightstand, your purse or any location that your child can easily access.

  • Post the Poison Control Center hotline number (800-222-1222) near every phone in your house and program it into your cell phone.

For more information on poisoning prevention, check out
- Dana Morgenstein

Read more about poison prevention:

  • Poison Lookout Checklist

  • Childproofing Your Home: 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children

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