Take steps to prevent poisoning during National Poison Prevention Week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health in Duval County is sharing tips to ensure the safety of homes and communities and help prevent poisonings during the 56th National Poison Prevention Week, which is being observed through Saturday.

Nearly 38,000 poison exposure calls reported in Florida in 2016 were regarding children age 5 and younger. Poisonings are preventable and adults must keep children safe from harmful exposure to medications and chemicals around the home, experts say. 

“Unintentional poisoning from a wide variety of substances and environmental hazards happen much too often,”  Dr. Kelli Wells, director of the Duval Health Department, said. “This week we encourage parents and caregivers to check their homes for hazards.”

Florida’s poison control centers handled 146,664 calls during 2016. Poisonings can happen quickly and it is important to know how to prevent poisoning and what to do in case you or your children consume a potentially dangerous product, experts say.

Always keep the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 posted in a home or classroom in case of an emergency.

The Florida Poison Information Center Network recommends the following tips for poison prevention:

  • Install safety latches on cabinets and drawers.
  • Keep all medicines, cleaning supplies and chemicals out of sight and out of the reach of children.
  • Try to purchase products with childproof packaging.
  • Keep products in their original packaging; do not store them in food containers.
  • Always read product labels and follow directions.
  • Do not call medicine “candy” when giving it to children.

In Duval County, there were:

  • 136 deaths by unintentional poisoning in 2015
  • 271 cases of hospital-or-emergency department-treated non-fatal unintentional poisonings in children ages 1-5 in 2014
  • 18 hospitalizations for non-fatal unintentional poisonings among children ages 1-5 in 2014.

The Poison Help Line is free, confidential and multilingual and automatically directs the caller to the poison control center covering his or her geographic area.

Click here to download the poison patrol checklist to help identify and safely store household poisons.

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