It seems every time we turn around it's "National ____ Week." We could be remembering endangered dolphins, helping people in foreign lands or sharing with others the importance of eating your vegetables. This week however is different and it's important no matter how many green products you have in your home — it's National Poison Prevention Week and we have a few facts you should be brushing up on.
As parents we scour our house from top to bottom and try our best to keep only safe products in our home. Those that we know should be kept out of arms reach of children we make sure they're safely out of reach and out of sight. Past that have you taken any poison control measures? Here are a few ideas to refresh yourself on:
1. Keep Important Numbers With You
Busy parents are on the go and just because your house is safe doesn't mean something won't happen while you're out and about town. Make sure to keep the number for your local poison control center handy in your cell phone and posted at home for easy access. When an emergency happens no one wants to be digging through a wallet or desk drawer for a number scribbled on a little piece of paper.
2. How Do I Find Those Numbers?
Finding the poison control center closest to you is easier these days with the help of the internet. Visit the American Association of Poison Control website for a drop down menu of locations.
Don't be afraid to call it every so often to make sure there's someone at the other end of the line. Sadly, poison control centers can often fall victim to state budget cuts (as scary as that is). This past February the House of Represetatives voted to cut $27.3 million from the federal poison control program and many of the poison control centers across the country will be effected. If you'd like to tell your local Senator or Representative that it's Grade A bologna then click over here.
3. What If I Live Outside The US Or Am Traveling?
The International Program on Chemical Safety has a list of 70+ countries and their local poison control centers. Although it might seem like an extreme measure if traveling, you must remember you'll be exposed to all sorts of new products with different chemical standards. It's always better to be safe than sorry!
4. The Most Common Poisons For Children
Cosmetics (deodorant, soap, nail polish), cleaning products, toys, silica gel packs, topical preparations (diaper creme, calamine lotion), and medications. Make sure you're familiar with what to do in case of ingestion of all the products in your home, even if they've been there for years without incident.
5. What To Do If Something Happens?
First follow the directions on the package of the item that was consumed or used. Then call your poison control center. If you don't have that number the national poison help line can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222. Don't assume everything will be fine because your kids don't show any immediate signs of distress. Usually your poison control official will follow up with you by phone or help you get in contact with emergency crews if someone needs to come to your home.
6. Why Bother With Poison Control? Why Not Just Go To The Doctor?
Each year U.S. poison centers take more than 4.3 million calls, which averages out to roughly one every eight seconds. 90% of those calls happen in the caller's own home and 75% of all potential poison exposures were managed over the phone, saving 1.8 million trips to the doctor or hospital (and copays) each year.
You can also check out iPhone apps such as this one that help kids learn the differences between toxins, poisons, pills and candy! Education is the best form of prevention. Have you had to call poison control? Share your story below to encourage others to be up to date with their information!