National Poison Prevention Week Kicks Off

Cincinnati Children's Raises Awareness About Poison Prevention

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Every 10 seconds a call is made to a poison center in the U.S.

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of unintentional deaths outnumbering car accidents and firearms both locally and nationally. A focal point for prevention and treatment of these exposures is the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Health professionals are available to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-222-1222.

In 2014, DPIC received more than 81,000 calls regarding issues that were addressed by the center’s trained staff, which includes doctors, nurses and pharmacists. The Drug and Poison Center is one of the largest in the country and provides service to 24 counties in Southwest Ohio and Northeast Ohio.

“Of course the best way to treat a poisoning is to prevent it from occurring in the first place,” said Earl Siegel, DPIC managing director. “Poison centers can assist with awareness, caution and safety around drugs and chemicals.”

Nationwide, more than three million poisonings are reported each year to poison centers. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, just under half of all exposure cases managed by poison centers involved children younger than six. The majority occurred in adolescents and adults.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gives the following tips for preventing poisoning:

  • Keep chemicals in their original bottles or containers. Do not use food containers such as cups, bottles, or jars to store chemicals such as cleaning solutions or beauty products.
  • Keep all drugs in medicine cabinets or other childproof cabinets that young children cannot reach.
  • Never leave children alone with household products or drugs. If you are using chemical products or taking medicine and you have to do something else, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
  • Turn on fans and open windows when using chemicals or household cleaners, and never sniff containers to see what is inside.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, pants, socks, shoes) if you spray pesticides or other chemicals. Stay away from these areas until the spray has dried or for at least one hour.
  • Never mix household or chemical products together. Doing so can create a dangerous gas.

National Poison Prevention Week begins on Sunday, March 15, and continues through Saturday, March 21. You can call 1-800-222-1222 anywhere in the United States and it immediately connects the caller with the appropriate poison control center for their location. Post it somewhere in your home where others will see it and program it in your home and mobile phones. 

About National Poison Prevention Week

Since 1962, the President of the United States has proclaimed the third week of March as National Poison Prevention Week to focus national attention on the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. To learn more about ways to keep people of all ages safe and help prevent poisonings, visit the Poison Help Web site at www.PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov or www.poisonprevention.org.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org. Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

Contact Information

Shannon Kettler, 513-636-5218, shannon.kettler@cchmc.org